Perspective: Mentorship Interview with Mentee, Shaya Ben-David

Name: Shaya Ben-David
Age: 14 years old
Where are you from? Los Altos, CA - which is near San Francisco
Mentor: Taeler Cyrus
What made you want to be a part of the PointePeople Mentorship Program?
I found out about the mentorship program through my dance teacher. I was eager to apply because I thought that working one-on-one with a professional dancer would help my career tremendously!
Why did you want to work with your particular mentor?
I wanted to work with Taeler Cyrus because she has accomplished a lot of the same goals I have for my career, such as being on Broadway! 
What has Taeler shared with you about her experience on Broadway?
Taeler has told me so much about her experience on Broadway. One of the biggest things that I took away from our conversations is that Broadway takes a lot of energy and dedication.
Have you been able to discuss the audition process at all?
Me and Taeler have talked about the different types of auditions and what are some of the hidden rules. For example, for Broadway auditions don’t wear what the character wears for the show unless they tell you to.
What is your favorite part of the program, so far?
My favorite parts of the program, so far, are the one-on-one coffee chats with my mentor, where we can talk about anything and everything related to dance!
Shaya Ben-David © Rachel Neville Photography
Shaya Ben-David © Rachel Neville Photography
Is there anything unexpected you’ve learned or experienced through the program, so far?
Unfortunately, I had a broken toe at the beginning of the semester, and I had to sit out of classes. That was really unexpected but part of the life of a dancer.
I still learned a lot by sitting out and observing. Since I didn’t have to learn the combinations, I could focus on the corrections the teachers were giving the dancers, and I wrote those down so I could revisit them later. 
What is the best advice you’ve received from your Taeler?
The best advice I have received from Taeler Cyrus is to focus on what I want and to not let the little things stop me. She also reinforced that training is always important for everything you are doing, and you can always learn more.
How is this program helping you to grow as an artist and dancer?
This program has helped me recover from my injury quicker because my mentor has given me exercises to help get me stronger. It has also helped my performance in all dance styles. I think it has also helped my choreography skills.
In what ways have you been able to work on your choreography skills?
My choreography skills have improved so much because of Rena Butler’s master class. She made us think of different things that could influence our choreography.
What would you tell anyone who is considering applying to be a mentee in the future?
I would tell them to definitely apply because it is an amazing program that you can learn so much from... and to not be afraid to dance out of your comfort zone!
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