by Cayla Sutton

Supporting: Debbie Allen Dance Academy Summer Intensive for Empower Dance Foundation



Meet Cayla S. (click here for video)

Hi! My name is Cayla Sutton, I’m 14 years old and I’ve been dancing since I was three. My earliest memory of me performing on stage was when I performed a little tap dance number at a small studio. It was then that my parents knew I had a special gift for dance. From there, at the age of 4, I joined Oscar Hawkins (OH!) Ballet Arts Academy in Waldorf, MD. My first ballet teacher, Ms. Christine taught me that dance isn't about the moves but about the connection and the feeling you express to the audience. As I continued my training at OH! Ballet, Mr. Oscar, a master teacher in Vaganova Ballet, was very tough but caring. At times, through tears and frustration, I struggled with learning the Vaganova technique. At one point, in sixth grade, I started to lose my passion for dance and even considered dropping out. However, Mr. Oscar and my parents never gave up on me. They each saw the potential in me that I could not see in myself. It is from this experience that I learned to persevere and overcome any challenge in learning the technical aspect of ballet. Even as my life continued to give me many hills and valleys to climb, it was through dance that I could express my emotions, releasing my anxieties through movements and music. Fast forward to the summer of 2020 when my family made the big move to NC. That's when I joined the Empower Dance Studio, which has provided so many opportunities for me to further explore dance. Empower is home for me and I've learned to keep moving forward because I’ve come so far to not turn back.

My favorite style of dance is Contemporary. Since I’m a shy person, dancing freely through slow movement builds my confidence and helps me get out my emotions. 

I want to attend the DADA Summer Intensive in L.A. because this opportunity will expose me to new styles, improve my dance techniques, build my confidence, and open many doors as I pursue a career as a professional dancer.

Debbie Allen Dance Academy Summer Intensive 

Campaign to support travel expenses and scholarship to the 4-week training program in Los Angeles, California

Empower Dance Studio had the opportunity to meet and perform for the Legendary Debbie Allen! 

Debbie Allen was the commencement speaker at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

In her speech she asked the question Who Are You? Encouraging us to ground ourselves in our purpose.

Based on this performance Debbie Allen extended the opportunity to 6 dancers to attend her Summer Intensive and awarded 5 scholarships!

We need your generous support to make this dream reality for our dancers.

Thank you for eliminating the economic barrier of this opportunity.