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The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

On Pointe: Tatum Bolton Named Semifinalist for OC Artist of the Year

Photo Courtesy of Tatum Bolton
Tatum Bolton (12) performs the principal role of Indian temple dancer Nikiya in San Clemente Dance’s production of the ballet, La Bayadère, during her sophomore year. The ballet centers around the tragic love story of Nikiya and warrior Solor in ancient India.

Senior Tatum Bolton has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2024 Orange County Artist of the Year, affiliated through the Orange County Register, placing her in the runnings for 2024 Orange County Artist of the Year in the dance category.

Bolton started her dancing career when she was two and performs all various styles of dance. Her main genre is ballet, as she’s primarily focused her attention on mastering that technique throughout her dancing career.

“I started doing ballet when I was six or seven, but I didn’t like it, so I took a little break and started competitive dance when I was nine. And then I went back to ballet when I was 11. Since then my whole life has been ballet. Ballet is like my big thing,” said Bolton.

High school teachers across Orange County select upperclassman students to nominate for the OC Artist of the Year award. This award is given out to juniors and seniors who are involved in the arts, which include theater, vocal music, instrumental music, media arts, fine arts, film and TV, and dance. 

I was honestly really surprised. I was so proud of what I submitted last year. I didn’t think that I would have improved enough to make it to the next round this year.”

— Tatum Bolton

For the dance division of the OC Artist of the Year, students are nominated in either the commercial dance or concert dance category. Concert dance consists of styles such as ballet, contemporary, and modern while commercial dance is more high-energy and can include anything from jazz to musical theater.

San Juan Hills dance teacher Kristine Calder nominated four of her dance students to be considered for OC Artist of the Year, and Bolton was chosen for the concert dance category. Bolton was nominated by Calder last year as well, but didn’t progress past the first round. 

Once nominated, dance candidates must submit a video of themselves performing a dance in the genre they were selected for, as well as answering some questions, such as what it means to be an artist. In late February, Bolton received the news that she had been selected as a semifinalist.

“I was honestly really surprised. I was so proud of what I submitted last year. I didn’t think that I would have improved enough to make it to the next round this year,” said Bolton.

There are multiple rounds that contestants must go through before the winners are selected. Once nominees are submitted, judges, who consist of high school dance teachers in Orange County, narrow down the number of applications to 16 semifinalist dancers. The 16 semifinalists are then selected to perform two pieces: one self-choreographed piece and one choreographed by someone else, in front of a panel of professional dance judges. After they perform, the contestants are interviewed by the judges.

On April 28th, five finalists, including the winners in each category for the OC Artist of the Year awards, will be announced. Even if Bolton isn’t named the dancer of the year, just becoming a semifinalist holds high honors and will help to further Bolton’s dance journey and make her dance résumé stand out when auditioning for dance programs in the future.

“The recognition is enough. Just knowing, ‘Oh, I’ve made it, this is my senior year.’ It would be a great way to close it out,” said Bolton.

When she is not at school or dancing, Bolton enjoys time with her family and friends, as well as exploring the outdoors. Bolton moved to California from Colorado when she was in second grade, and credits her love of nature to the stunning landscape of Colorado.

“Something I’m really passionate about is being outside and really appreciating where we live,” said Bolton.

Bolton hopes to join a dance team in college and take a break from ballet since it is so strenuous and damaging over time to a dancer’s body.

“New college, new experiences. I’m looking to do the sideline dance team because that is something I didn’t get to experience in high school because I did so much ballet. I feel like it would be nice to start something new since I’m going to a new place,” said Bolton.

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Lucy Garibaldi
Lucy Garibaldi, Staff Writer
Lucy Garibaldi is a sophomore at San Juan Hills High School and is excited to begin her first year on the newspaper staff. She is passionate about starting San Juan Hills High School’s first ever podcast! Outside of school, Lucy enjoys baking (and eating her creations!), shopping, spending time with friends and family, and being involved in her church community. Lucy hopes to attend the University of Tennessee and study elementary education after high school.
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