Alyssa Ness, 2013 National Outstanding Female Dancer

Alyssa Ness, of Ramsey, MN has had quite a year. In March, she underwent hip surgery to repair her torn labrum by stitching it back together, along with quite a bit of work on the surrounding bone – shaving bone on the femur and hip socket. She was told the recovery time for this procedure would be 4 – 6 months. As a competitive dancer who has been studying and training hard in the art and sport of dance at Northland School of Dance nearly every single day since she was a toddler, and is now regarded as a leader and mentor, that must have been hard to hear. The fact that she was in her last year of high school at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, and now applying to dance colleges – all of whom you must physically audition for, it seems that would have been a monumental blow.

But Alyssa rose to the challenge, not at all a surprise to those who know her well. Her recovery has been difficult and painful, but with determination, a positive attitude and hard work, she’s bouncing back quicker than her doctors expected. In early July, just four months after her surgery, Alyssa earned the title of 2013 National Senior Female Outstanding Dancer at the 19th Annual National Season Finale for NYCDA.

Outstanding Dancer Title

To earn the title, the process is highly physical, especially for someone who just underwent the surgery she did!

The top dancers were chosen from each Regionals Convention during the year, totaling about 123 dancers – male and female, and they were invited to compete at Nationals for the Outstanding Dancer title.

  • At the beginning of the multi-day competition, they each competed a solo which was put into their overall score. Alyssa’s solo, which you can see photos of above, was choreographed by Tokyo.
  • They also did a separate jazz audition from the choreographer of the TV show Smash.
  • And performed a ballet audition from a principal dancer at the ABT.
  • They did yet another audition where they did a combined ballet and jazz combination.
  • The scores from the solo, jazz, ballet and combined audition were added up to come up with the top 20.
  • At the Gala, the Top 20 were announced, then 15, then 10, then the Top 5.
  • The Top 5 then once again re-performed their solos in the Gala for all to see. This new solo score was added in with the audition scores, which is how the ultimate winner was chosen. The winner this year was Alyssa Ness!

Alyssa will represent NYCDA all next season, and will be included in the 24 City 20th Anniversary Tour as they continue to bring Regional Conventions to dancers across our country.

Just who is NYCDA?

If you aren’t someone familiar with the world of dance, you may not know what NYCDA is. New York City Dance Alliance – NYCDA – prides itself in serving as the bridge between the dance ‘convention world’ and the professional dance community. They take this role very seriously, and along with classes, intensives, bringing professional level workshops and conventions to cities all over the United States, they award numerous scholarships every year, both at the Convention and National level. In fact, last week- on July 6th, 2013, 3.4 million dollars in college scholarships were awarded in one evening.

College Scholarships

For the college scholarship, Alyssa, along with about 300 other dancers, attended and performed both a ballet and a modern audition in front of a panel of representatives from approximately 8 different colleges. Alyssa was awarded a $25,000 scholarship from the NYCDA Foundation toward the college of her choice (the highest award the foundation has ever given), along with a $100,000 Scholarship to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, which is very close to a full ride! She was also awarded over a half ride scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College. With the NYCDA Foundation Scholarship and the college scholarship, it all is adding up to close to a full ride to college, and Alyssa has certainly earned it. She’ll be attending Marymount Manhattan College, majoring in Dance.

Congratulations, Alyssa, we are proud of you!