Name: Sydney Guine
Where are you from? Los Angeles California
Where did you train? Debbie Allen Dance Academy and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts
What year are you in college? Sophomore
How and when did you get your start in dance?
My mom put me in ballet and tap classes at the age of three after she saw me allegedly pointing my toes in my highchair... and the rest is history.
I know you’re currently a student at Ailey/Fordham University in New York! Congratulations. What was your journey like to get there?
Alvin Ailey has been my favorite company since I saw them perform for the first time at the age of seven. When I found out that they had a program for college students where I could train at Ailey and still pursue my academic education at Fordham, I knew I had to go there. I applied immediately.
What aspects do you love most about the Ailey/Fordham program?
I love that the program is rigorous. Even though I am tired and sore most of the time, I really appreciate that they challenge and push us to be our best every day.
What is a typical school day like for you?
A typical school day for me starts off with my academic classes at 8:30 a.m. Then, I eat breakfast and usually do homework or take a nap before going to dance class. Dance for sophomores is usually in the afternoon and evening, so usually I finish dancing around 7:30, come home, eat, shower, do homework, and go to bed.
What genres or styles of dance do you enjoy most, and why?
My favorite styles of dance are contemporary, modern, ballet and Dunham [technique]. I love the freedom that comes so easily with contemporary, but I also love finding that same freedom within the structure of ballet and modern techniques. I love Dunham because of the release and the adrenaline it gives me. Dunham is kind of a mix of modern and African styles, so it’s like I can be free within the constructs of the exercises and movements, but also I can be free in the, “let your hair out and live” kind of way.
I try to find freedom in every style of dance though, because to me that’s exactly what dance is and should be: freedom and expression of life.
Where do you ultimately hope to take your career as a dancer? Do you have any performance goals, dream companies, or other dance aspirations?
My dream is to join a contemporary or modern company after I graduate. My dream companies are Philidanco, Dallas Black Dance, Dayton Contemporary, Ailey, and Rambert. I ideally want to join a company that travels and tours so I get to see the world while doing what I love.
If you weren't a dancer, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t dancing, I would probably still be in college. I am currently also double majoring with Sociology, so I would like to think I would still be doing that. I also hope that I would still be involved in the arts in some way.
Any other favorite hobbies or unusual talents?
I do aerial silks when I’m in L.A., and I’ve been doing that since I was fourteen. I also love to bake.
What is something that not many people know about you?
Something not many people know about me is that I have been collecting snow globes since I was really young. I have one from every place I’ve been pretty much, plus some fun ones that I find at amusement parks and things. Last time I counted, which was over the summer, I had 101.
What is one thing you always keep in your dance bag?
I’m sure a lot of people do this, but I keep an emergency kit in my dance bag. It's a small bag full of first aid stuff, hand sanitizer, sanitary products, lotion, Icy Hot, and an extra pair of black tights. I also keep a lint roller in my bag at all times because I hate when I take off my street clothes and have lint or pet hair all over. Being unprepared is one of my biggest fears.
What has been your favorite on-stage memory or a performance you’ll never forget, and why?
My favorite performance is probably one I did in Cuba in 2019. I was in Cuba with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy Ensemble, and we were performing a piece called, “Church” choreographed by Ms. Allen, herself. The piece was about eight minutes long, and it was nonstop. So in rehearsals, by the end, we were all usually gasping for air. However, when we performed it that night, the audience was so alive that it gave us so much more energy on stage. Even though most of the audience probably didn’t understand the words because it was in English, they were clapping along, and the dancers in the wings were dancing along with us.
By the end of the dance, we had given it everything we had, and it felt so good. As a dancer, this is what it’s for; we dance in hopes that we make people feel something. That night, that’s exactly what we did, and it felt amazing.
What’s a step/combination in class that you always look forward to doing?
Grand allegro in ballet class. Jumps are definitely one of my strong suits.
What’s something you’re actively working to improve upon in your dancing?
Taking the stress and tension out of my shoulders and putting it into my core. My shoulders tend to come up a lot while I dance, and it’s a correction I get a lot in class.
What is a challenge you've faced as a dancer and how did/do you work to overcome it?
I struggled for a long time with comparing myself to other dancers. It took me a long time to learn that just because I look different or move differently than someone else, it doesn’t mean that I am any worse or they are any better than I. Self-acceptance and self-love are often hard to find in a world like dance that is so competitive, but I had to learn to focus on my own path to greatness before concerning myself with others.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?
Focus on yourself first. Be the best you you can be before worrying about what everyone is doing. You aren’t training to be a better version of anyone else but yourself, so stay focused on that.
Plenty of sleep, hydration, and fueling myself properly so I have plenty of energy for dance.