A Woodbury youngster is dancing to the rhythm of numerous accolades.
Jillian Miller, a sixth-grader at HB Thompson Middle School in Syosset, recently performed a dance at the National PTA’s 2015 Reflections student art exhibition at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. The exhibition, “Believe, Dream, Inspire,” showcases the work of more than 200 Reflections award recipients in the categories dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts from the 2013-2014 school year.
The only dancer in the country invited to perform, Miller’s entry was chosen out of approximately 300,000 student entries from across the country.
“It was so exciting to be asked to perform in Washington, D.C. for my Reflections dance piece,” said Miller. “It made me feel so proud.”
Miller, 11, is a competitive dancer who dances upwards of 30 hours a week as part of a national award-winning dance competition team at Fusion Dance Complex in Holbrook. She is inspired by her big sister, Alexa, 15, who is also a competitive dancer at Fusion.
“I am always inspired to dance by my big sister, Alexa, but also I am inspired by my two new amazing dance teachers and by the amazing choreographers I have been so lucky to take class and conventions from,” she said. “Watching and learning from all of them makes me want to get better and better.”
Miller’s mother Margot said that her daughter puts in hours of work to achieve a level of perfection in her dance routines. It takes focus, as well as strength in mind and body—qualities that her mother says Miller has in spades.
“We are always so proud of Jillian,” said her mother. “This was a huge honor to be asked to perform her award-winning piece at the Department of Education. It was something she did completely on her own—and it was her first attempt at choreography—so to be recognized at this level is a huge accomplishment for her.”
But this wasn’t Miller’s first time being honored with an invitation to dance at the Reflections ribbon-cutting event. Last year, Miller was chosen as a 2014 National PTA award of merit winner for her original dance routine entitled, “You Can Be Anything.”
The National PTA’s Reflections program encourages students in Pre-K through grade 12 to explore and be involved in the arts. Miller’s entry was among 1,018 works of art submitted to the Nassau Region PTA. The judges, who are unaware of the artist’s name when evaluating each entry, use the following criteria when judging: artistic merit, creativity, mastery of medium and most importantly, interpretation of theme. As a Nassau Region PTA Reflections finalist, Miller’s entry was chosen for it’s originality and interpretation of the theme.
“Watching Jillian dance completely fills my heart with joy and pride,” said her mom “She works hard and you can see how much she loves it when she performs. It makes it all worth it.”
Miller submitted another piece for the Reflections 2015 contest and she recently got word that it won at the county level and is now at the New York State level being judged.