Graduating Senior Spotlight #1: JJ Dove

For our first graduating senior spotlight, we decided to interview JJ Dove. JJ has been a part of the FOCUS Family since they were three years old! As one of our competition team dancers, JJ currently competes in musical theatre and contemporary. JJ also trains regularly in jazz and ballet.  

We have absolutely loved getting to watch JJ grow and mature as they have grown up.

To give JJ the opportunity to share some of their memories, advice, and favorite times at FOCUS with you all before JJ ventures onto the next journey, I got the amazing opportunity to interview them. 

FOCUS Memories

In our time together, I asked JJ to recall some of their favorite FOCUS memories over the past 15 years. They told me: 

“Hanging out and supporting everyone competing when I wasn’t onstage at Nationals; Victoria and I did Niko’s nails, Mr. Chris taught me and Erica some of his favorite tutting tricks, Kalea and I used UberEats to order waffles in the evening, and I got to hang out with Shannon at 12 AM when everyone else had left.”

Another story that JJ told me was about the spirit rally held for the competition team last year. JJ showed me a hilarious video of their team running one of the dances from that year, and two of JJ’s teammates (who were on a different spirit team) kept trying to put a different team’s color onto JJ. They said that they loved this memory because it was just so fun and lighthearted to play around with JJ’s teammates before nationals. 

Pictured above is a snapshot from one of JJ’s solo’s from last year called “She Used to be Mine” which was choreographed by FOCUS’s own, Robert Duran. To watch this amazing performance: Click Here! It is nothing but stunning, and you can really see the emotion in JJ’s face. Something that JJ liked about this solo was the opportunity to really tap into their emotions and perform. 

Looking to the Future + Closing Thoughts

Next year, JJ will most likely be attending University of California, Riverside to study aerospace engineering, or something similar in the STEM field. JJ said that dance will always be apart of their life in some capacity, and looks forward to subbing for FOCUS while attending UCR. They also will definitely be back for combo classes at FOCUS! 

As a person, JJ said that FOCUS has really helped them to be more vocal about their opinions, and be bold in their beliefs. They have learned to be a better leader, and JJ said that patience is one of the most valuable skills they learned at FOCUS. I also asked JJ what one piece of advice would be that they would give to younger dancers. They said:

“Watch as much dance as you can to keep you motivated and inspired; it will also help you develop your movement and performance quality, allow you to discover new skills to practice, and make you more knowledgeable about dancers and choreographers in the industry. If you realize you’re interested in a specific type of movement or company, watching different companies perform different pieces can also give you something to aspire to.”

We are so so proud of JJ and cannot wait to see all of the amazing things that they will accomplish in the years to come. Congratulations to the class of 2023!