An audience member at one of Emmons' numerous dance performances likely would not see that in the Paducah Tilghman High School senior. It's kind of a contradiction, she said, but dance has helped her come out of her shell over the past 16 years.
Dance has taken her across the country for competitions. She recently performed in California, where she also learned about Chapman University, one of two front runners for college. Emmons began dancing competitively when she was 7. It was a serious commitment to make as a second-grader, but dance won out over competitive soccer.
Sarah Emmons, daughter of Keith and Lisa Emmons, is the Mid-Continent University Teen of the Week. Each Monday, the Sun features a different MCU Teen of the Week selected from nominees who high school guidance counselors throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois submit to the Sun. Mid-Continent University will provide each Teen of the Week with a $2,500 annual scholarship to its university, which is renewable for four years. In the spring, a Teen of the Year will be chosen from the weekly winners and will receive a full four-year scholarship to Mid-Continent University, currently valued at up to $55,000, or a cash reward of $2,500 paid through the Paducah Sun if the student selects another college to attend.
Her favorite dance style is contemporary. Ballet is more set, she said. With contemporary dance, the artist can explore new movement, new choreography and new interpretations. Emmons wants to study both dance and dietetics during college, and she hopes to join a professional company after she finishes her degree.
Emmons' academic schedule has kept her busy through high school. With numerous Advanced Placement classes, she balances her time wisely. She'll continue that focus in college to complete her double major. Positive encouragement from her family and her dance coaches has helped keep her motivated. One of Emmons' dance teacher got her interested in dietetics because it's such a pertinent piece of the performance equation.
"As a dancer, your body is your instrument," Emmons said. "Like in all other things, you want to keep your instrument fine tuned."
When she's not practicing or studying, Emmons likes to spend time with her friends. She also finds solace in playing piano. Though she doesn't consider herself a virtuoso, she said it's a relaxing practice that also helps her interpret dance.
Call Rebecca Feldhaus, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651.