Even though Chelsea Vargas’ dance career began as a decision made by her sister, she has spent the last six years growing into an immensely talented dancer who is ready to use her gift to impact other students just like her.
While Vargas was a competitive gymnast and not at all interested in dance, her sister asked if she could be a ballerina. A year later, Vargas decided to try dance as well. Despite the fact her interest was minimal at the beginning, once Vargas began classes at a new studio, her entire outlook changed.
“After my first year of dancing we moved to a new studio because the owner of the studio we were attending was retiring,” explained Vargas. “She recommended a new studio and the minute I took my first class there my whole viewpoint on dance changed. I realized how beautiful the art form is and from that moment on, I only saw dance in my future.”
With a new aspiration in mind and the dedication to make it happen, Vargas has not stopped dancing and Montclair State was the next stop in helping her dreams come true.
“I was always drawn to Montclair State University’s dance program,” said Vargas. “Our dance program was just ranked as one of the top five in the nation and it is quite clear why. The faculty doesn’t teach us like we have to all be a certain type of dancer because no dancer is the same. They have created an environment where each individual dancer has the opportunity to grow as an artist as well as a person.
“They push me to be the best dancer I can be, not to dance like the person next to me. Every dancer in our program has their own artistry and it is amazing to witness them all every day.”
Vargas is currently working towards a Bachelor of Arts in dance education with a studio teaching concentration in hopes of being able to open her own dance studio one day. “[I hope to] get the chance to impact students just like I was impacted six years ago,” she said. “I want to show people that dance is a platform that enables creativity and teaches discipline.”
While Vargas is incredibly talented, she admitted that at times things get tough, but she is grateful to have a strong support system behind her, including her fiance who is a United States Marine. “My biggest supporters are my mother, sisters, fiance and my fiance’s family. My mother is the reason I am able to dance here every day and she still amazes me at everything she is willing to do for her kids,” stated Vargas. “My fiancé is always cheering me on, even if he is 3,000 miles away living his own dream.”
Vargas said she draws inspiration from many places, two of those being her studio owner back home and all of the dancers she has met through the dance program. “I love getting to dance next to [these dancers] every day, and seeing them grow gets me even more excited about continuing my own education as a dancer.”
Currently, the dance department is preparing two performances for the fall semester—the highly anticipated “Works-A-Foot 2016,” which Vargas had the privilege of performing in for the first time last year, and “Dance Collage.” While performing is not what Vargas trains to do, she loves getting to share her hard work with her fellow dance majors and the students of Montclair State.
“A dance career is not an easy one, but it is a rewarding one,” said Vargas. “That is what makes me so excited to go to classes every day and to get one step closer to my dream.”