A Bittersweet Goodbye


“Mrs. Kassen! Kylee is moving to LA,” a student said.

“Kylee, you are leaving us?” Kassen asked.

“Yeah, I’ve made auditions for a dance company and I’m leaving as soon as possible,” senior Kylee Winters said.

Winters started dance at two years old at Powerhouse Dance Studio. At eight years old she started competing. Two years ago, she joined Over the Barre Dance Academy, where she was taught more of the artistic side of dance.

“I really really fell in love with it and felt passionate about it when I was 13,” Winters said. “That’s when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do. Obviously, when I got older the passion grew and just growing up with dance made me love it more.”

Winters auditioned for The Difference Between Dance Company, directed by Talia Favia, late April. Dancers rehearse for five months and perform in various cities before their contracts expire. This season’s show is called The Difference between Actions and Words.

“I have known her for two years and she choreographed my solo this year, so we are close,” Winters said. “But I didn’t think I would make it since I’m .”

Winters found out she made it into the company after checking her email late at night March 2.

“I screamed and jumped around and I was in shock,” Winters said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was very happy and very excited and I couldn’t stop smiling for a day.”

But as a result, Winters had to leave for Los Angeles as soon as possible. It was hard for her to leave her friends behind.

“I always said, ‘I can’t wait to go out of Kansas,’ but now that it’s happening and it’s actually here it’s so sad,” Winters said. “My heart breaks more and more everyday saying goodbye to everyone. Realizing ‘oh this is my last time doing this and this,’ it’s just that leaving school and all my friends is going to be hard.”

Despite being over 1,500 miles away from her home Winters still plans on to keep in touch with her friends.

“For the past seven years, my friends have been like my family,” Winters said. “I find so much security in my friends and I rely on them like crazy. I am going to do my very best to stay in contact with everyone. Some of them are even like ‘oh, we’ll come out and visit.’”

Winters has found an apartment and plans on rooming room with two of her friends. She will then try to find a job and take more dance classes to further her experience.

“When I get out there, the first thing I’m going to do is get a job because although I have a bunch of money saved up, but that will run out eventually,” Winters said. “I’m trying to get a job and take classes. So I will get up, do some exercise, go to work, take dance classes at studios, then go to rehearsals every night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.”

Winters withdrew from all her classes March 6. In order to receive her diploma she will need to work online for half a credit of English.

“The school said I’m officially no longer a student of Northwest. That was hard to hear, but they said ‘get your online credit and send it back to us and you will get your diploma.’ I still have a spot for walking and still have a cap and gown. It’s just a different way to end the year.”