Instagram feed leads young dance student to win special honor

Originally published in Macomb Daily – December 30, 2019

When Emanuel Dostine of Roseville went to watch his sister at her dance class, he asked his mom if he could try it too. His mother signed him up for dance lessons at age 12, and in that moment he found his passion for dance.

Now at age 17, and a senior at Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, he has earned the honor of being named the 2019-2020 winner of the National YoungsArts Foundation in the Modern/Contemporary Dance category. Contemporary dance is an expressive style of dance that combines elements of modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet, all delivered in fluid movements. Contemporary dance stresses versatility and improvisation, breaking out of the strict nature of classical dance forms.

“It allows me to move in a way most comfortable for my body and it makes releasing feelings and emotions the easiest,” Dostine says, explaining why he favors contemporary dance.

The National YoungArts Foundation ( was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison. YoungArts identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts fields to provide them with creative and professional development opportunities through their careers.

This year, talented artists in the United States ages 15-18 years old, or in grades 10 through 12, were evaluated by a professional panel of judges.

Dostine applied after seeing an advertisement pop up on his Instagram feed. He submitted a video that contained modern exercises and phrase work he and his teacher choreographed, as well as a two-minute solo performance. Now a student at Spotlight Dance Works in Chesterfield Township, Dostine says he wants to pursue dance at the collegiate level.

After being announced a winner in his category, Dostine also will have the chance to participate in the YoungArts national program in Miami, Fla., where he will study with leading artists in their profession.

The young dancer tries to express something the audience can connect with, and hopes observers will “take away a feeling of some sort, whether it’s what I’m dancing about or not.”

“They can interpret the work in their own way and find something personal to them,” he says.

To learn more about Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, visit .

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