Photograph by Dane Shitagi
“Footloose, kick off the Sunday shoes… everybody cut, everybody cut footloose.” It was the small-town story that inspired a new generation of (literal) movers and shakers—including UNCSA School of Dance alumnus Juwan J. Alston. “When I was a freshman in high school I performed in the musical ‘Footloose,’” he says. “It was then that I discovered dance and I wanted to learn more about it… I fell in love.”
A current first company dancer with Charlotte Ballet, Alston initially taught himself to dance by watching YouTube videos and joining dance classes at his high school. At age 16, he traveled from Texas to North Carolina to attended an American Ballet Theatre summer intensive and was introduced to UNCSA for the first time. His vision was clear: he would become a professional ballet dancer, and UNCSA would be the school to help him achieve his goals.