Dancer in the Spotlight: Freshman Abraham Hirsch Balances Life on and Off the Stage

Hebrew Academy freshman Abraham Hirsch pops, spins, and shakes his signature blonde corkscrew curls on stage while the music blares. Hirsch, a professional dancer, performs across the country several times a year while juggling school work and Jewish life.  

Although only in his first year of high school, Hirsch has already made a name for himself as a professional dancer, appearing on the “Ellen Show,” in various music videos, and as a backup dancer at numerous concerts.

Since he was two years-old, Hirsch has had a desire to dance, but didn’t start taking classes until the age of six.

“I’ve always been dancing,” said Hirsch. “But I actually started dancing when I was six ‘cause I saw this video of Michael Jackson, and I just really wanted to copy everything that he did.”

Hirsch has been dancing with Tempo Dance Miami for seven years. His dance crew, consisting of Hirsch and eleven female dancers, practices daily and performs on a regular basis.

Dancing four hours a day, six days a week, while juggling school is challenge, but Hirsch makes it work. After returning home from school at 5:00, he eats, changes quickly and arrives at the dance studio by 5:30.  After dancing, Hirsch usually gets home by 10 and does homework until midnight. It’s a struggle to find a balance between dance and school, but Hirsch wouldn’t give up dance for anything.

“I just like dancing a lot, and I know that school is more important than dance, but I just like dance more and I feel like I just have a future doing something that doesn’t have to do with school, than with school.”  

Hirsch said his dance crew feels like family, and one of them actually is. His sister, Hebrew Academy 8th grader Anna, is also a member of the Tempo dance team. Hirsch said Anna dances in a more fluid style, while he is more of a “hitter.”

“I love my sister. I love everything about her, and I like the way she dances,” Hirsch said. “She just, she’s short so she dances really small and everybody tells her to dance bigger, but it works for her, and she’s really cute.”

Hirsch not only balances dance with school work, but with leading a Jewish lifestyle. It’s a challenge to eat kosher and observe Shabbos when he travels with his dance crew. Hirsch and his sister are the only two observant Jews on the team.

“There’s one more Jew on the team … and she doesn’t keep everything, but me and my sister do,” Hirsch said. “It’s hard sometimes.  Not the kosher part, the kosher part is easy. It’s more about keeping Shabbos, because a lot of dance things are on Shabbos and we just can’t go.”

Hirsch’s classmates say he always makes them laugh and puts them in a good mood.  

“Abe and I have been really good friends for a while.  He is always in a good mood, and literally, always dancing around school,” said Jeremy Dobin (9th grade). “He always makes me laugh.  Everytime I talk to him the conversation results in both of us laughing.  He is a positive, energetic, and all-around good kid.”

Hirsch appreciates his Hebrew Academy family more than his dance crew.  He finds it easier to deal with his classmates since there are boys, and the girls are more even tempered than his dance partners.  Hirsch feels that his classmates are less dramatic and more outgoing.  Hirsch and his dance-mates are like family, but he would do anything for his school friends.

Tempo Dance Studio was started by Thais Cedeno about five years ago.  The studio began as a place for dance lessons, but soon turned into a team, as Cedeno took her best students and created the Tempo Dance Crew. Cedeno and the team choreograph their own dances and perform them across country. They mainly dance hip-hop, but also do contemporary, ballet, and jazz.  Hirsch said he contributes a lot to the choreography as well as the rest of the team. Although the only male member of the crew, Hirsch said he has created strong bonds with his team members. Like siblings, Hirsch and his teammates fight constantly, but do it out of love.  

“I like all of the girls there but on trips when we go to hotels we all have to go into four different rooms and then they always come into my room if they need to take a shower which is really annoying,” Hirsch said. “Sometimes I’ll be in the bathroom for two minutes and they’re already screaming at me which is really annoying, but it’s whatever.”

Hirsch and his teammates tell each other everything, as he says “they’re part of me.”

Hirsch plans to continue to dance out of high school, and eventually create a business out of it.

“I want to be a dancer when I’m older, but I also want to study business because I want to make a business for dance,” Hirsch said. “I would make my own company worldwide.”

By: Samantha Ebner (10th Grade)

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