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OREM — A Draper teen is a finalist in a national competition to be featured on the cover of Dance Spirit magazine.
Megan Skalla has been dancing for 13 of her 16 years, but did not think she had the experience it took to become a finalist in the magazine's annual cover model search. But she did, and if she wins the contest outright, she will get a feature spread that will help her to continue her climb within the dance world.
"The dance world is really small," Skalla said. "It's good to network and to know a lot of people. It's good way to be known, and I'm just really excited."
Skalla has already begun to be known within the dance world: she has won a host of awards and at 13 years old played Clara in Radio City Christmas productions in Chicago and St. Louis. But she said she doesn't do it for the awards.
"It's not about the trophies," she said. "It's just the feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing something you love."
And her love for what she does is visible in every line on her face as she performs her solo — the product of countless hours spent on the dance floor, of hundreds of family dinners missed and dozens of school activities skipped.
But it's that dedication that will take her places, according to her mother.
"It takes sacrifice to train at this level and to make it into a career," Shannon Skalla said. "I think it's that way with anything — I don't think it matters whether it's dance or football or soccer. But I think the reward is character: it builds discipline, work ethic and dedication to something bigger than yourself."
Megan Skalla hopes the sacrifices she and her family has made will pay off in the long run: she hopes to attend a performing arts school — perhaps Julliard — and go on to either perform or teach.
Sometimes she gets burned out, she said, but nothing beats the feeling she gets when she is on the dance floor.
"Sometimes you'll say, ‘I don't want to go; I don't want to put my ballet clothes on. I don't want to put my pointe shoes on,'" she said. "But once you get out there … you're just so happy. It's just that feeling you get when you love something or someone. It just makes you feel really good inside."