[Author’s note: “Senior Spotlight” is a miniseries offering a quick look at some of Oregon’s Class of 2022 dance standouts. Today, we are getting to know David Douglas dancer Jantazha Davis. Davis is a four-year member and two-time Captain of the Tams Dance Team. She serves as Head of Communications for the Black Student Union, an Outdoor School Student Leader, and was nominated for Homecoming Queen. We provided Davis with a series of questions to answer. Here is what she had to say!]
OSAAtoday: Why did you decided to join your high school dance team?
Jantazha Davis: My transition to high school was not the usual. I was having a really tough time at home and school. I never really fit in at school. I was in and out of different homes in foster care system for three years of high school. When I decided to join the dance team freshman year, I didn't know what to expect. I was very nervous and felt anxious. Without realizing that, I going to be able to spread the love of dance with people who love it just as much as me and I would be joining more than just a dance team. I would be joining a second family. Having relatives who attended Douglas I would always see the Scottish Tams dancing at the football and basketball games. When they took the floor, they just exuded confidence. Watching them, I knew that dance was what I wanted to dedicate the next four years of high school to. I am so glad that I made the decision to join the Tams. The memories I made will impacted my life forever and the bonds are timeless. I have been lucky enough to know what it's like to have 16 to 18 sisters. They have always accepted me and welcomed me with open arms, without judging me or the situation I was in.
OSAAtoday: What part of the dance team season is your favorite and why?
Davis: My favorite part of the dance team season is most definitely state season. State season is always the most sentimental and emotional season for me. I love it so much because you get to show off all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears you put into your dance throughout the year(s). All the teams constantly work together, building each other up for success. I enjoy getting to see the growth from teams in the few months between competitions and state. It’s fun to see teams use of props, and the creative and dynamic length each team goes to. Dance is art. Dance is meaningful. I love how we have our own community and can expression so many things by movement! And after all the hard work is done, I love cheering the teams after us! Lastly, I love the feeling of knowing my team collectively leaves everything on that floor.
OSAAtoday: What’s the wisest thing a coach ever said to you?
Davis: I am lucky enough to have five wonderful coaches. They all play such a vital part in my life. They have watched me grow and develop as a dancer and as a young woman. They have watched me make mistakes and learn from them. Most of all, they always pushed me to be the best version of myself. They believed in me and saw something in me, even when I didn't see it in myself. A wise thing one of my coaches says is “The trophy doesn’t make the dancer.” As dancers we naturally strive for perfection. Dance is more than that, it comes from inside. We have to work hard and just make it happen. Dance is about passion and that's why that message always stuck with me.
OSAAtoday: What’s next for you after graduation? Will you pursue dance after high school?
Davis: After I graduate, I look forward to continuing my passion of dance by motivating myself to be an amazing dancer. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent! And I know I have a long road ahead of me and I can't wait to see all the growth that will come with time. Something I am already looking forward to is being an Alumnus and getting the opportunity to come back and support the team. Dance is forever embedded in me and hopefully I will get the opportunity to join a college team and continue to share the love of such a beautiful sport with my teammates.