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For many dance is something you do as a hobby, at a party, or entertainment to simply go watch. It’s hard to mesh the words “dance” and “career” into the same sentence. The false idea persists that if your pursuing something “creative,” you haven’t quite made it because, certainly, mommy and daddy are not paying for you to be an artist. But Alvin Ailey dancers are doing it. They are making it work through hard work, dedication and a strong sense of resilience. Their season starts today and the troupe makes their first stop in New York City.

Demetia Hopkins is a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, where she’s been dancing for the last four years. She went through the rigors of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A program where she graduated in 2009, and was a recipient of a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts in 2009. The coveted four-year program requires acceptance into Fordham University, as well as a series of auditions for Ailey in order to be admitted. She started as a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 2010.

“The year I applied only 20-something dancers made it,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins has trained with the National Youth Ballet of Virginia, Virginia School of the Arts, the Summer Dance International Course in Burgos, Spain, The Rock School, and Dance Theatre of Harlem School. As a dancer she’s had the opportunity to dance with the company traveling from state to state, as well as internationally. Traveling and getting reactions from different audiences has propelled her both personally and as a dancer.

“I have always been drawn to this company, going to the Kennedy Center and watching Alvin Ailey, it’s really incredible to dance with and interact with this company,” Hopkins said, adding that the experience with the dance company gives her the sense that she has a connection with Mr. Ailey and his artistic vision. She says she feels “comfortable” doing this rigorous, but beautiful work “in a way that this just makes sense.”

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