Contributed by Mr. Ryan Stahl

Mariah Pilcher strives to one day dance alongside the Rockettes in New York City.

Zayna Sheikh, Reporter

Pursuing a lifelong passion for a career is a daunting undertaking, especially when you have the risk of failure looming.  However, Varsity Dazzler Mariah Pilcher’s love for dance exceeds these fears.

Pilcher has been perfecting her skills as a dancer for 15 years. Her lifelong love for dance began at three years old after her mother put her in a dance class. Since then she has trained with one of the most prestigious dance groups in America, the Rockettes, and has plans to join them on the stage in the near future. She will be auditioning for a spot in the Rockette line in April.

“It wasn’t till I was a little older that it really turned into my own decision to dance because it was something I was passionate about. It’s just a feeling you get. You know you’re in the right place doing what you love,” said Pilcher.

Over the past five summers, she has been attending the Rockette Summer Intensive (RSI), an esteemed program that only a few gain acceptance into. She knew of the program from an older friend and auditioned as soon as she met the age requirement.

“When I turned 14, it only made sense to go and audition for RSI. I didn’t think I would get it, but I just wanted the experience. My first year of RSI was when I really fell in love with the program,” said Pilcher.

Pilcher is determined to join the Rockette line despite her height, which she identifies as a major setback for her aspirations.

“Whenever you audition, [The Rockettes] are not only looking for your dance abilities but also a certain body type. Sometimes, they need someone short, and sometimes, they need someone tall. I’m exactly [five feet and 10.5 inches tall] which is the maximum height requirement for the Rockettes,” said Pilcher.

While Pilcher may be headed towards big things in New York City, she won’t forget the family and the memories she created at SHS. She accredits her team and her coaches as major reasons for her growth as a dancer and as a person.

“I have gained a huge family from Dazzling, and I’m grateful for every single one of the girls and boys. [We] all push each other to be better dancers. I have seen a lot of improvement in myself, in not only my dancing but my discipline,” said Pilcher.