Quint Lattimore, 18, sat down to share with CDS Blog what his next steps are now that he has finally graduated from Chicago Academy for the Arts. His initial plans included continuing his academic education by pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and majoring in Dance. He looked at programs in Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and California, and was accepted to several. However, as the final decision loomed in the air, he opted to enroll in a conservatory program.
So, what are your plans now that you have graduated from high school?
Now that I have graduated, I am moving to New York for the next three years and studying at The Ailey School (of Dance) in Manhattan. I was accepted into their Professional Division Certificate Program after a successful audition in Atlanta, GA. While in the program, I hope to learn a lot more about dance and myself as an artist.
You auditioned to be a dance major at traditional colleges and universities as well. So, what were the key factors that played a role in your decision to go to a dance only program?
As the acceptance and rejection letters from various schools rolled in, I really started to think about where I was in my life and what I wanted to do. Thinking about me really played a big part in my decision about my future. I started to understand more during my senior year in high school that I needed and wanted to focus solely on my art. The saying “school isn’t for everyone” really started to hit home while I was grinding to complete senior year. I thought about what I was hungry for and where I could show and deliver faster and better results. I also thought about where most of my attention naturally goes. Dance, dance, dance was the answer. So, I had to think about how I could make it so that I was dancing all the time. And, choosing to go the conservatory route was risky, but that’s just what I did!
What have you done this summer in preparation for your next chapter?
I kept this summer very low key. I decided that I was going to rest for this summer and try other things. I worked for a little at Akira fashion store and After School Matters. Both were very interesting experiences – going from retail to photography. I would have to say that I did get a chance to build up my sales and customer service skills. I also learned how to take good, quality pictures, and how to do traditional, dark room prints. I did most of my dance at church – Trinity United Church of Christ – and at some master workshops. I also had a chance to do some traveling. I went to my hometown Atlanta to see my family before making the big move, and I went to Colombia, South America, with a youth leadership group through Global Acts, a nonprofit.
That sounds like a lot. How have you stayed focused on your goals
I stayed focused by just surrounding myself with things that would not only help me once I got to school, but that will also help me live a more comfortable life while I’m away from home. I took time to work harder on things like learning how to budget my money, how to make my own appointments, networking on my own, and managing my own paperwork more. It sounds kind of boring, but it has played a part in me getting ready to make my next step. I think that taking the time to learn these habits will definitely come in handy as I build my career in New York. Another big thing was I found and talked to people that I know who have lived or experienced New York life and really stayed close to them. Sharing my fears, concerns, dreams, and ambitions with others helped me get some other options and backup plans from people who have been in my shoes.
How do you feel? Are you nervous, scared, or excited? What?
In the beginning of summer, I was very nervous and afraid of what would come next, and if I was ready for what I said I wanted. As the summer progressed, I found that I was ready. It was a big challenge going from a schedule where I was dancing all day, every day to a schedule where I was only dancing some time. It was harder to stay self-motivated. Now, having a few days before its time to leave, I would say that I am more than ready. I am definitely ready to start working and dancing again. I love the intensity. I am really excited to just get around creative and smart people who are interested in the arts. Again, I really love the intense schedule and art-world pressure. I’m also really excited to be in a new place. I am just really looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.
What advice do you have for a young dancer or younger artist?
For young artists out there, I say really understand that you have a future, and that what you decide and who you are plays a huge part in how it comes to life. Don’t be afraid to try something, and explore different things. If you don’t, how else will you know what kind of artist you want to be in this life? Don’t limit yourself. Find other hidden talents that you may be good at. In the entertainment business, no matter what kind, people are looking for diverse artists who can do more then what they’re being asked to do. Know that when you get to a point where you think you want to give up – you have more inside of you. So, dig in. Know that, at that moment where you want to quit, that is the time something is about to happen. So, just be still and let the universe do its job! Finally, you are bright and special. Start believing it, live it, and have fun on your journey! Success comes and looks many different ways. It is okay to be different.
Dancer Perspective: Quint Lattimore, Senior, Chicago Academy for the Arts