Dancing with the Star(chook)s: the return to the ballroom

Salah Abdulkarim, Editor in Chief

Nina Starchook is stage ready in her dress and makeup.

Many people have some sort of activity they’ve done from a young age; for senior Nina Starchook, it’s dancing. Starchook has been dancing for nearly 10 years now, and after slightly drifting away from dance during the pandemic, she is slowly getting back into her old habits.
Similar to all sports and physical activity, dance was a hard change to make during the virus.“I had to adjust to physical activity with a mask because of the mandate, and it was pretty difficult. I also experienced many scheduling issues because my studio, Dance with us America, went online for the first bit of COVID,” Starchook said.
The ability to express herself in a creative and unique manner is what made Starchook passionate about dance which was why it was extremely difficult mentally to limit her time dancing at the height of COVID.
“The thing that I enjoy most about dancing is that I can be myself and I can express myself…I’m out performing with my partner and just doing my own thing. It gives me a sense of freedom that nothing else in my life does,” Starchook said.
One of Starchook’s fondest memories involving dance was when she attended a competition in Hollywood a few years back.

[Dance] gives me a sense of freedom that nothing else in my life does.”

— Nina Starchook

“Although I don’t compete against many people, one of my biggest accomplishments is when I went to Hollywood to compete. That was really significant for me because it made me feel like I was really doing something important. My grandma and grandpa came to watch and were cheering me on. I did well during that competition and I know I’m also very proud that they were there to see it go down,” Starchook said.
Despite her great love for the art of dancing, Starchook is not exactly sure how she will go about continuing dance in the future.
“I’m not sure if I see myself dancing in the near future because my studio is here in Minnesota, and I might go to college out of state or just far from the studio…I think it’s important to take healthy breaks. I think I’ll definitely dance later on in my life because I enjoy it and it’s a great hobby,” Starchook said.
Starchook’s appreciation for dance remains despite some factors that have made it challenging for her to continue. She’s working to get back into the swing of things and carry what she has learned with her throughout the rest of her life.