Balancing dance, school

New Day seventh grader Jenna Tononi performs a short spin during her jazz trio’s performance of “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Jenna will compete in this dance along with numerous others at four different competitions this season.

While most seventh graders mainly focus on school or their social lives, New Day’s Jenna Tononi also focused on her dance life this year.

Jenna dedicates a lot of time each week to dance. She spends at least 10 hours each week practicing. Tononi does many different types of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. Her favorite dance style to perform is jazz. On top of practicing for the Huntingdon Dance Company and her June recital with Huntingdon Dance Academy, she also had a role in HDA’s December performance of the “Nutcracker.” She may practice anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours on a given day.

Tononi is part of the Huntingdon Dance Company, which is traveling to four different competitions this year, as compared to the three last year. Some competition locations include Johnstown and Lancaster. Jenna and her mother, Jessica Tononi, often drive to these competitions that weekend. She finds the competitions to be a personal challenge.

“I get to see how good or bad of a dancer I am,” she said. Her family are huge supporters and tend to “cheer me on” at her competitions, said Tononi.

Tononi is still very dedicated to her school work and doing as much as she can. There are times where she has missed a few days of school for dance “but that’s ok with me” she said.

She hasn’t shirked from her school obligations, though. “Jenna is a unique kid. She volunteers and steps up in class and actively looks for challenges,” said English teacher Nathan Thompson. “I enjoy how she always seems to show up with a smile and is excited to learn.”

Jenna spends a lot of her time balancing school, dance and her home life. “She never stops, when she is home she is busy,” said her mother.

“Helping out around the house and helping Tim make food, she still manages to be a great big sister and loves to spend time with all three of her younger siblings.”

Jenna keeps up with school and still has time for competitions and her family. Her mother said, “she is really responsible for her age and makes us very proud.” Jenna has been so dedicated to dance, explained her mother, that she sometimes misses social events.



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