STUDENT OF THE MONTH MICAH TALBERT

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By Kev Moyé              

Micah Talbert aspires to become an esteemed, professional dancer.

If her family pedigree and what she’s accomplished thus far is any indication, the dance enthusiast will transform her dream into a reality.

The daughter of Andrea Ray Talbert, Micah has immersed herself in the art form of dance. A 16-year-old junior at Lee’s Summit West High School, Micah has performed in front of large groups of people for most of her life.

“When Micah was three I put her in a tumbling class. Afterward, I put her in a gymnastics class,” Ms. Talbert said. “After that, I just began to enroll her in different dance classes.”

Being placed in different dance courses introduced Micah to an activity she fell in love with.

“Dancing is pretty much my whole life,” she stated. “It seems like that’s all I do. At one point I was dancing everyday. ”

Micah was so committed to perfecting her craft, that she would sometimes have difficulty addressing the various educational responsibilities. Therefore, Ms. Talbert created a way in which her daughter could give both dance and school a proper amount of attention.

“I have to keep her focused on school. Sometimes she’ll be at the dance studio so much that she has to work hard to remain focused on her school work,” Ms. Talbert stated. “Micah was initially going to dance class five days a week. But, I had to cut it back to three days a week to let her know that school comes first. Doing that kept her humble.

“It’s a lot when you’re at the dance studio for hours, and hours, and hours. She dances a lot.”

Even when Micah isn’t fine-tuning a dance routine or participating in a competition, she’s studying the individuals who are widely acclaimed.

“I watch a lot of Misty Copeland videos,” she admitted. “I closely watch all of her variations.”

The dedication, passion, and discipline Micah showcases when it comes to dance should not be a surprise.

It’s often stated that success begets success. Micah is blessed to have professional, successful people in her life.

Ms. Talbert is currently on active duty for the United States Armed Forces. Ms. Talbert is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., and has earned a Master’s Degree from Webster University. Additionally, Micah has a grandmother who’s a retired educator. Having a proper response for assigned responsibilities is something that was instilled in Ms. Talbert, and Micah is now benefiting from the same  custom.

Perhaps that not only explains Micah’s dedication to dance, but also the development she has made.

To be frank, Micah is really good at what she does. Ms. Talbert recognized her daughter’s immense talent several years ago.

“Micah would just pick up on the choreography really fast,” she stated. “I actually believe just recently, Micah finally realized that she was a good dancer. ”

Micah specializes in several forms of dance, such as: Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, and Modern. She garnered one of her biggest accolades earlier this year at the Dance America  competition. During the highly coveted event, Micah – who’s a member of Dancing 2 Win studio –  received a first place award.

“It feels good,” she said. “When I finally get the victory, it feels good to know that I’ve put in so much work toward this goal, and I’m seeing it pay off after working so hard.”

The desire to win is connected to her drive to be among the best.

“I like to win. My mom is very competitive. I’ve been competitive my whole life – in basically everything,” she said. “”Every time I perform, I expect my best.

“I try and relax as much as I can, but I’m not perfect. But, I try to handle the pressure to dance well as best as I can.”

Though Ms. Talbert has closely observed Micah’s evolution, at times she still marvels at what her child is able to do.

“It makes me feel really, really good. I believe her hard work has paid off,” she said. “I just try and encourage her to do her best. Actually, her last solo performance at the national was the best I had seen her do. I’m proud that she did so well.”

Micah was not coy in acknowledging that her success is tough to deal with from the standpoint of handling the lofty expectations. In fact, Micah is so respected by her peers and the dance instructors that she’s often asked to show the younger dancers how to perform.

“There is a lot expected from me,” she admitted. “I now help a lot of the junior dancers on our team. I’m like a big sister to the small kids. They ask me for help if they need anything.”

So what’s her dance specialty? What realm of dance is she able to provide the most insight?

“I believe that hip hop is my best.,” Micah answered. “I’ve won many of my (solo) dancing awards in hip hop.”

If she wanted, Micah could also teach her colleagues about the concept of excelling while battling a physical ailment. Micah has Scoliosis. What that means is Micah’s spine is abnormally crooked.

“I would always tell her to stand up straight. It would look like she was just poking out. I was always talking to her about correcting her posture,” Ms. Talbert said. “Well … come to find out the Scoliosis is what it was. Her spine curves a little bit.”

The spinal condition should effect Micah’s ability to dance, but it doesn’t.

“It hurts my back a lot when I’m dancing, but I just have to keep going. I put Icy Hot on my back,” she admitted. “However, I also know how to stretch it out before and after I dance. Usually after a competition, my back would hurt a lot because I go 100 percent.”

A routine physical led to the discovery of Micah’s Scoliosis. Yet, she has never allowed the crooked spine to confiscate one of her favorite activities.

“I want to keep dancing. I don’t want to stop just because I have Scoliosis,” she said. “That’s just one thing. It will not be that big of a deal.”

Micah’s physician believes it’s in her best interest to continue dancing.

“When she was diagnosed with Scoliosis a couple of years ago, the doctor told her that she needs to make sure she continues to dance. The dancing will help her skeletal muscles and help her keep the flexibility,” Ms. Talbert said. “I thought it was weird for him to say that. But, I was glad that he said continue to dance. ”

Has there been any serious consideration of getting her spine fixed?

“They can do surgery (on her spine), but she doesn’t want to,” Ms. Talbert answered. “I’m not going to force her. She’s doing OK so I’m not going to force her to do the surgery.”

Ms. Talbert simply wants to do what best for her daughter’s potential maturation into an elite dancer.

“She can be a very good dancer,” Ms. Talbert expressed. “She has to be focused on the right things. If she wants to, I believe she can go very far.”

Micah – whose favorite forms of dance to perform and teach, are the Modern style and Hip Hop – is a zealot when it comes to being a dancer. She hopes that one day, her fancy for dance will lead to a multitude of highly coveted opportunities.

“I’m dedicated to dancing, because I feel free when I’m on the stage. One day I want to be a professional and inspire other people. I want to do Modern, Abstract, or Hip Hop dance,” she stated. “I want to dance my whole life. It doesn’t matter if it’s professional or just teaching people. I’ve danced my whole life and I just want to continue it.”