Dreams of New York City lay almost in reach for Akron jazz dancer Alan Pickett, 20, who’s working to raise money for the prestigious Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive.
Upon his acceptance, Pickett began raising money for program tuition via GoFundMe on top of working three jobs. However, housing is currently his main obstacle.
“My parents and family are also helping me out a lot,” says Pickett. “The best thing for someone to do right now if they can’t donate is help me find somewhere to live.”
The dance program features rigorous workshops designed to refine the dancer’s technical performance skills. Pickett is more than enthusiastic to perform not only jazz but also ballet, modern, hip-hop and lyrical.
“I feel good when I’m on stage performing,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if I did well or not; it just feels good to show people what I’ve been working so hard on and training for in private for like nine months, like having a baby. Dance is my baby.”
Pickett started dancing six years ago at Martell School of Dance in Akron after watching his sister perform and begging his parents for lessons. His inspirations are Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, who also began their careers in New York.
“I think that the mix of cultures in New York City all influence dance in a way that makes it something unique that I’m really drawn to,” he adds.
Networking with other professionals in the industry aside, Pickett says he’s positive that the program will mold him into a dancer capable of anything. The intensive begins June 26 and he plans to stay in New York City after the workshops end to further pursue his career.
“Dance is important to me because I am not always good with using words to express my thoughts or feelings,” he admits. “The arts in general have always been the greatest way I connect with people. Literally all of my friends I met in choir or at dance.”
To contribute, visit his GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/alans-alvin-ailey-dance-fund.