[Author’s note: “Senior Spotlight” is a miniseries offering a quick look at some of Oregon’s Class of 2022 dance standouts. Today, we are getting to know South Albany dancer Erika Butzner. Butzner is a captain and four-year member of South Albany’s dance team. She assists with choreography the Redhawks’ Hip Hop routines and was recently named to the 5A DDCA All State Dance Team. We provided Butzner with a series of questions to answer. Her responses are below!]
OSAAtoday: Why did you decided to join your high school dance team?
Erika Butzner: I joined the South Albany team for many reasons. I have been dancing since age 5 and dance has been a huge part of my life. I wanted to be a part of our high school program because it was a great way for me to combine my love for dance with representing my school. It’s also a good way to meet new people, help others with their love of dance, and build relationships. South has a long history of a success in dance team, so it’s something I knew I could take pride in, and along with my team, represent my school in a positive manner.
OSAAtoday: What was your first big success as a dancer and how did it impact you?
Butzner: Throughout my dance career there have been so many small successes. My first big success was being selected to be part of the ImmaBeast dance family in Los Angeles after auditioning with over 2500 other dancers of all ages. I had been dancing at a studio for several years and am so appreciative of all those who have taught me dance along the way. It was the first time I stepped outside of Oregon and was selected to be a part of a professional team of dancers. It was a time where I felt like all my hard work and dedication to the art I love was being recognized at a higher level. I have always loved learning from new people in the industry, so this was an amazing opportunity to learn from, and work with, choreographers and dancers who have taken their dance careers to the next level. I am forever thankful for this opportunity.
OSAAtoday: What style of dance do you most enjoy performing?
Butzner: I actually have two - Contemporary and Hip Hop. I enjoy contemporary because I can express my emotions, use a variety of dance techniques and movements, and can showcase my strength. I always feel like contemporary pulls at my heart and emotions, and I love being able to be expressive and tell a story.
I also love Hip Hop because it’s fun, upbeat, and fast. You can be fun, hard hitting, aggressive, and it also allows me to show my tumbling and trick skills. Hip Hop lets me be someone different, and I always love how the audiences responds and get so involved.
A combination of these two styles is what I find I’m drawn to when it comes to looking into a future of dance, whether that be as an industry backup dancer, or a professional team dancer.
OSAAtoday: What’s next for you after graduation? Will you pursue dance after high school?
Butzner: I plan to attend college but am still making those decisions. I do plan to pursue dance in some capacity. It could be with a college team, within the industry, or even possibly in a coaching or choreographer role.