Duncan achieves goal to keep on dancing
SPRUCE PINE – Mitchell High School senior Ana Duncan did not know whether she wanted to attend college at NC State or Appalachian State, all she knew is she wanted to dance. Duncan showed up at a tryout in early April, and ultimately, fate decided for her.
Duncan, 17, is the daughter of Carrie and Jon Duncan, of Spruce Pine. It was announced Sunday, April 7, that Ana is one of six new young women invited to be part of the Appalachian State University’s 19-member dance team.
“I was trying to decide between NC State and App,” she said. “This really influenced my decision because I was stuck – I liked both schools equally. NC State has a dance team, but since I already made the dance team at App and have a confirmed spot, it helped me make my final decision for sure.”
Duncan has been dancing since she’s been old enough to walk. She began dancing at age 3 under Beverly Shurley at The Dance Center and continued under Laura Curtis Hodges at Appalachian School of Dance. She has been a member of DreamWeavers Dance Studio in Forest City under the direction of former ASU dance team member Macey Strickland Butler since the summer of 2017.
Duncan arrived at the team’s open tryout this past April and was required to show her basic technique and other necessary skills. Eventually, the nearly 50 dancers who tried out were narrowed down to the six who earned a spot.
Although being on the dance team allows Duncan to achieve a personal goal, she is aware of the extra time and effort required to be a member of the ASU dance team.
“We are invited to go to all the games,” Duncan said. “We dance on the sidelines for football and basketball, but the athletic program does not directly fund it. Anything we want to do outside of that, we have to raise money and do ourselves.”
Dance studios at ASU and the varsity gym are provided for practice venues, but the team captains are responsible for providing the choreographers because there is no funding from the school, Duncan said.
Dancing will not end for Duncan when her days on the dance team are over, as she plans to pursue a business management degree and a minor in dance with the intent to open a dance studio in or near Mitchell County.
“That’s why I’m majoring in business management with a minor in dance so I can have the business aspect of it and also the dance credentials,” she said. “I plan to open one wherever I am but would prefer to do it here in my hometown.”
Duncan said her parents are and have always encouraged her and will likely be a significant part of her future endeavors, since her mother, a teacher, has raised two daughters involved in dance and her father is president of the Spruce Pine branch of United Community Bank.
“I know I’ll be OK on the financial aspect of how to manage and run a studio,” she said. “My mom knows everything anyone needs to know about dance and what is needed to manage it, get it going and keep it moving, and my dad is obviously the financial guy.”
Jon Duncan said he is “extremely proud” of Ana.
“I admire her,” Jon said. “I am pleased with her decision and couldn’t be happier that she finished what she started and achieved what she set out to do. I can only hope to one day have a work ethic like Ana’s.”