Dance student transfers to Troy to pursue career

Kianna Collins

Arts & Entertainment Editor

When Phebe Brooks first started her dancing career, her goal was to pursue a spot on the dance line at Westbrook Christian School in Rainbow City.

Brooks is a junior dance major from Gadsden, and her journey to Troy started a bit later than most.

She didn’t turn her attention to dance until the dance line required for her to be taking dance classes outside of school. She began her career at Miss Tammy’s Studio of Dance and Twirl in 2009.

“It was only in high school when I decided, like, ‘Hey, I really want to do that cool dancing stuff,” Brooks said.

Halfway through high school, her interests started to shift more towards making a career of dance.

“I started falling more in love with it, (dancing)” Brooks said. “I started seeing that this was a job, that this was something you could do for a living.”

She started researching different companies, and despite struggling to choose what direction she wanted to go with her career, she pushed forward.

Brooks continued on to say that around the same time she really wanted to make dance something she was going to do for the rest of her life.

“I knew I loved it,” Brooks said. “If I had an opportunity to go to college and study this, why not?

“There’s really nothing else I had a passion for.”

While she researched companies, she said she discovered that there were a lot of different options available to her, even if she didn’t teach.

However, starting dancing so late in her life left her feeling like she was at a disadvantage.

“A lot of people…start when they’re young, but they’re also competition dancers,” Brooks said.

“Our studio didn’t do competition, so I started when I was a freshman in high school…I can’t do all these tricks and things.

“And then I come to Troy, and these people are amazing.

“I feel like I have not learned as much as I needed to to be at a college level,” Brooks said.

After transferring to Troy University from Southern Union Community College, she doesn’t feel that way anymore.

“I’m learning every day,” Brooks said.

Brooks learned about Troy University through occasional visits to Troy to spend time with her best friend. During these visits, she fell in love with Troy University.

“I had heard of Troy, but I didn’t really know much about it,” Brooks said. “Since she was here, I would come down a lot of weekends and go to football games and hang out with her and see the campus a little bit more.”

Brooks had seen the new Long Hall being built during her visits, and upon finding out they had a dance program, she knew it was a perfect fit.

“Seeing all of that being put together,” Brooks said. “I could come here.”

She elaborates that she wanted to work with different professors and be able to practice in the new studios provided in the building.

“A big thing for me was: I could either be at Southern Union for two years and maybe not get as well of training,” Brooks said. “Or I could go ahead and be at Troy for three years and get phenomenal training.”

Brooks said that she had to push herself to get better training and maybe have a better opportunity with her career after she graduates.

Not a lot of people can bring themselves to follow their dreams without a support system. For Brooks, it’s her parents.

“I feel like in most situations…especially with fine arts a lot of people are not supportive of that,” Brooks said. “They think, ‘Oh, you’re not going to have a career from this,’ ‘You’re not going to make any money,’ ‘Why are you pushing yourself to do this?”

Brooks’ parents were always supportive of her career and told her to follow her dreams. She said they told her to not regret going for her dreams.

“Don’t get halfway through your life and regret not doing anything,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ favorite style of dance is musical theater because it allows her to sing, dance and act all at the same time.

During her time at Troy, however, she has opened up to contemporary styles of dance.

“I had no experience with contemporary and modern stuff, so, since coming to Troy, that’s opened up,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ career has blossomed since she began at Troy University, and it all started with a requirement for extra dance classes.

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