By Lauren Kirchmyer
Teenagers are expected to spend their high school years soul searching and deciding what they want to be when they grow up. It is a daunting task and the decision can change time and time again. In Anthony Tette’s case however, he knew his future before completing elementary school.
“Dance has been my whole life ever since I can remember,” the 17-year-old Rochester native said. As a child, his mother taught dance classes at a local dance studio and signed 5-year-old Anthony up for classes in September 2005.
As years progressed, he continued to train and studied styles including jazz, tap, ballet, acrobatics, lyrical, modern, contemporary, musical theater and hip hop; and attended conventions including NYCDA, NUVO, Jump and 24/7 to take classes from and network with well-known dancers, teachers and choreographers.
Two years ago, he decided to take his training to the next level and decided to drive over an hour away to train with LIV Travel Dance Team in Williamsville. “I was very serious in dance and the studio I was with didn’t provide the training I was hoping to get to prepare for the future,” he shared. “LIV offered many opportunities to work with and learn a ton from different choreographers.”
One opportunity LIV Director Rebecca Guile-Wind wanted to offer her dancers was to tour colleges with some of the best dance programs in the country, such as Marymount Manhattan and Juilliard.
“This helped me to form an idea of what I wanted to do in the future.”
He did all of this while still attending high school with his peers. During his summer breaks, he decided to travel for summer dance intensives including Modas in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Summer Ballet Intensive in Chautauqua and Master Ballet Academy in Scottsdale, Ariz.
It was his three-week training at Master Ballet Academy in 2016 that helped him form a final decision on what he wanted to do after high school.
“While I was there, I fell in love with the studio spaces and the teaches and just the environment all together,” he recalled. “During one of the days in the first week, Slawomir Wozniak [the artistic director of Master Ballet Academy] pulled me into his office and entertained the idea of having me move to Arizona to train there year-round.”
The offer was right before he began his third year of high school. Though he wanted to accept, he already signed a contract to perform with LIV for the 2016-17 season.
“Conveniently, I graduated high school in three years with the intention of dancing more in, what would be, my senior year. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do yet so moving to Arizona was starting to become a real option. As the year went on, my want to move to Arizona started to grow and it was a place where I could see myself dancing at.”
In June, Tette earned his high school diploma and on Aug. 9 he packed his bags. The transition was a smooth one, with the help of his mother making sure he had everything he needed. Now, the young man is living with a friend he made last year during the summer intensive.
To his surprise, Wozniak approached Tette again with another opportunity. A docu-series named “Born on Pointe” was scheduled to film at Master Ballet Academy and follow a select group of dancers around in their lives and classes. “He wanted me to be a part of it. Filming was so much fun and it was a great experience. They were very long days with lots of sitting, then doing combinations 15 times in a row so they could get the right angle. In the end it was a very good experience.”
The docu-series is now available on YouTube through Little Unicorn Productions. There is also an Instagram account for “Born on Pointe” for fans to follow to stay up-to-date with the featured dancers.
It has been a challenging, exciting and life-changing couple of years, but Tette wouldn’t change it for the world.
“My dance life has taught me that I am very motivated and willing to push my body, physically and mentally, past its breaking point to improve my technique and movement quality. Not many kids spend up to 30 hours a week training on something that they love to do.”
He hopes to one day join a contemporary dance company and travel around the world performing on a variety of stages.