Anessa Pier’s drive to pursuing dance


Photo provided by Anessa Davies Pier

ELEGANCE: Senior Anessa Davies Pier begins a bent-legged lunge with a back arch outside of the dance room.

Hari Sreeramagiri, Staff Writer

In a highly competitive environment like Northwood’s where many students are burdened by fears of judgment and failure, senior Anessa Davies Pier’s story comes as a breath of fresh air. It’s not just her love of dance or even her 14-year-long commitment to it that sets her apart: it’s the fact that she didn’t hesitate to pursue a career in what she loved, even if the journey might have been daunting. Pier reflects upon her time at Northwood and the bright future ahead of her as a dance major at Cal State Long Beach.

The first time Pier walked into Dance Theater, she was a nervous, jittery sophomore transfer student. Those feelings didn’t last long, thanks to her innate passion for dance, which overwhelmed everything else. 

“I love that I can rely on it like a friend. If I am ever feeling stressed or just can’t find the right way to express my emotions verbally, dance is always there to lend a hand and allows me to move freely, with no judgment,” Pier said. “Sometimes school or life can make me anxious, and that is where dance is very beneficial in the sense that I can get my mind off of reality for a little while, and just be present in the moment.”

But dancing isn’t the only thing Pier specializes in. Choreography has always come naturally to her, acting as a creative outlet and form of expression. She quickly picked up on the ins and outs of choreographing for groups, even choreographing a group dance for the Northwood Dance Theater group. In order to pursue a career in choreography, however, she knew that she would need to go to school for dance. 

“What better way to learn and improve than earn a degree?” Pier said. “I only applied to schools that had a dance major and decided that Cal State Long Beach was the best fit for me because it has an excellent dance program with very welcoming professors.”

As important as a dance education is, some of the most transformative lessons Pier learned were through collaboration at Northwood. As one of the captains of Dance Theater this year, it was challenging to create team bonds and foster unity because of separate cohorts and social distancing regulations. However, they were able to find times to meet outside of school to get closer, and make new friendships. 

“Knowing what it is to be a leader also means keeping energy levels high,” Pier said. “This year, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a show. Yet we kept positive attitudes, and we were able to have a show a couple of weeks ago. It was a super fun experience.”

LEAP! : Senior Anessa Davies Pier flies across the stage. (Photo provided by Anessa Davies Pier)

Despite her many achievements, Pier hasn’t forgotten the friendships and several voices of support that have paved the way for her. If she could thank one person in her life who impacted her career the most, she says it would be her mother, who never left her side. 

“She has always been there for me throughout my dance career, and constantly motivating and encouraging me when I felt like giving up,” Pier said. “She has stuck by my side 24/7, and I am so grateful that she has been a positive influence in my career as a dancer because I wouldn’t be in the place I am now without her.”

According to Pier, everyone has a purpose in Dance Theater, and there is someone that will be there for you. Northwood dance teacher Judy Scialpi, for example, played a huge role in Pier’s dance career, dedicating extra time to helping her with dance auditions for colleges. Pier’s peers have always lifted each other’s spirits and provided her the confidence needed to achieve her dreams. 

“I now see Dance Theater as a second home,” Pier said. “It’s sad to leave behind the close friendships that I’ve developed with so many talented dancers.”

It’s safe to say Northwood will miss her too, but like all the best artists say, the show must go on.