#WhyWeDance episode: 2

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There are some students that just remain in your memory. Students come and go, some stay longer than others and they all have their own agenda. As a technique studio, we get students that want to learn classical dance in order to get into a ballet company. Other students are interested in enhancing their techniques for competitive gymnastics and iceskating. Another group of students enroll to get dance skills in order to make themselves competitive in the musical theatre genre. Enter stage Leftt: Caroline (Freedlund) Arapoglou. She was always a beautiful, friendly, PASSIONATE student who had a zest for musical theatre and dance. I was uplifted by her contagious laughter every time she attended class. After she moved, we kept in touch and I have followed her unbelievable career in film and theatre. Her resume is quite impressive, including a recurring role on the series, The Resident. Here is our interview with the amazing Caroline Arapoglou!

SD: How do you incorporate dance into your adult life?

CA: As an actor, my dance training is pretty important in my day to day work life. Since my body is my office, it’s really important to stay in great physical and mental shape. I also learn the blocking of a scene the same way I learn choreography, so it’s important to keep my muscle memory and body awareness sharp.

SD: What is a life lesson that you learned in dance that is applicable to your adult life?

CA: I think that growing up in dance class taught me discipline and sacrifice. When you really want to excel at something, it takes commitment. The same way I used to have to prioritize ballet over other sports or parties, as an adult I sometimes have to prioritize work and rehearsal over vacations, events, etc. I learned at a young age that those sacrifices are worth it in the end!

SD: What does your exercise/stretching regimen look like today?

CA: I take barre classes as often as my schedule will allow! Usually 5 days a week. Even if I have to be on set really early, I will take a class at the crack of dawn because it always sets me up for a happier, more productive day. If I’m actually dancing as part of my job (like if I’m working on a musical), then I make sure I am always at the theater early to warm up my muscles and do a core workout to avoid injury and fatigue.

SD: What is your favorite memory from your dance days?

CA: Too many to count! If I had to choose, probably trying on my first pair of pointe shoes. I never took my first pair off! I would put socks over them and practice in the garage. My first ever pair ended up with grass stains on them! I also distinctly remember my first Nutrcracker performance. I was an angel and I still remember shuffling through the dry ice and the scrim rising and the light hitting my face. I was immediately hooked.

SD: What made your family choose Springfield Dance for you?

CA: The emphasis on classical ballet and a strong technical foundation was really important to us. And I remember seeing The Nutcracker and Rock Ballet and all of my favorite dancers took at Springfield Dance! Plus, Miss Ronda was so nice and approachable and fun, it was just a really natural fit.

SD: How did dance shape you as a person?

CA: Dance taught me discipline and an appreciation for so many different art forms. I feel like it was the beginning of my understanding and love of music and story telling. Springfield Dance shaped me as an adult because Ronda was such a great role model. I remember her performing in Rock Ballet and The Nutcracker, teaching classes every day, running her business, and being a hands on mom all at once. And she really made it look easy. It showed me that you don’t have to limit yourself if you are willing to put in the work. Not to mention she made it look fun and always had such a positive energy.

SD: What is one piece of advice that you wish you could go back and give to your younger self?

CA: I would go back and tell myself that the path you envision for yourself and set off on will change along the way, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t end at the same place you hoped. I had my heart set on getting into a big university known for their acting and musical theatre programs. I worked towards that goal all through high school and when the letters came in, there were a lot of rejections. I could have taken that as as sign that I shouldn’t be in this industry, but instead I just tweaked my path and figured out a different way to reach my goals. Don’t let small (or big) disappointments keep you from going after your dream.

SD: Do you think dance is important for children; if so, why?

CA: I think it is important for children to have something that teaches them hard work, determination, and self expression. Dance is a great way to emphasize the importance of physical health and exercise at a young age. Plus it instills perfect posture that lasts forever!

SD: What would you love to see Springfield Dance do more?

CA: Open up a branch in Atlanta so I can take adult classes!!! 🙂

Well, Miss Caroline, I wish we could do that too! We love following your journey and wish you the best of luck in the success of your future.