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Talented Dancer Seeing
Dreams Come True

Hard work and dedication are paying off for Dontel Pattman. Dontel, a senior at University City High School who receives services from SSD, is the recipient of the 2013 Dance Career Award. The award was designed to identify and honor local students who are exceptionally motivated and talented in dance, and display potential for a professional dance career. 

The 2013 Dance Career Award winners are selected from hundreds of students participating in Dance St. Louis’ Monsanto Dance Education Residency Program.  Every season, Dance St. Louis conducts two intensive three-week education programs in urban schools. They fly in two teaching artists and the program allows for the students to work with dancers from some of the best dance companies in the world.  This prestigious award is given to only five students each year.  

Dontel received the award in January and doors have been opening for him as he pursues his dream of becoming a professional dancer.  Dontel was in class when he received word that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater wanted him to audition.  Dance St. Louis was proud to provide coaching for his audition piece and travel expenses for him to travel to Chicago for the audition.

While in Chicago, through introductions provided by Dance St. Louis, Dontel met and received encouragement from dance studio heads and company directors. Many have admired his talent. 

“Dontel has a great zest and a wonderful openness to every style of dance,” says Michael Uthoff, artistic and executive director of Dance St. Louis.

Dontel has also received financial support to take ballet and jazz dance classes at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA).  

In January, he participated in the Regional Summer Dance Intensive Auditions for the St. Louis area.  COCA welcomes leading dance programs from around the country to hold auditions for their respective summer intensive programs.

Dontel was offered a $1,500 scholarship to one of the summer intensive programs on the spot. He has also been accepted to two other summer dance intensive programs, and has not yet decided which one to attend.  

“Dancing is my passion and something I love doing,” says Dontel.  “Dancing not only allows me to express myself in many different ways, but it is also a stress reliever for me.” 

He has now set a goal of working and training in St. Louis while saving up to move to Chicago, continuing his dance studies there, and beginning to audition for professional work.

“Dontel is someone who is driven,” says SSD teacher Julie Dee.  “He has a strong determination to succeed in spite of his learning disability and in addition to other challenging obstacles.  I truly believe we have not heard the last of Dontel Pattman.  The best is yet to come for this young man.”
Dontel Pattman
Dontel Pattman
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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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