PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg South High School senior Alia Ott has been dancing for 14 years.
She practices dance at the Mid-Ohio Valley Ballet Co.
Ott said she was too young to remember how she got interested in dance, but she thinks it has something to do with the Barbie movie “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”
Ott said she enjoys dance because she gets to spend time with her friends, the environment it brings, the act of dancing and receiving the rush of endorphins that comes with physical activities. She said one of the life skills she has learned from dancing is stretching. She said she stretches before every class and that it has become relaxing to her, similar to yoga.
“It means a lot to me to be a part of my dance company,” she said. “I have learned so much there with not only dance, but with life skills such as sewing and critical thinking. Aside from this, I think of the performances as a way to inspire and give back to the community, especially the kids who come watch.”
Ott likes to give back to the community in other ways as well. She has volunteered at her church, St. Francis Xavier, as a teacher’s aide, participates in the Parkersburg River Sweep, and even donates clothing and school supplies to an orphanage in the province of Cebu, in the Philippines.
Ott said her mother is an immigrant from this island in the Philippines. She has also volunteered as an assistant swim coach for the DERC Dolphins swim team, at the Dupont Employee Recreation Center Pool.
“I would teach around two to six kids how to swim competitively during the summer season,” she said.
Ott said she has been swimming for 11 years, and is a member of the PSHS swim team. She also works full-time as a lifeguard during the summer.
“I was influenced to join the swim team from my swim lessons teacher, Linda Alt,” she said. “I love swim because it relies a lot on individual drive, but you’re also a team and make a lot of memories traveling around with everyone. I’m rather introverted, so I feel as though swim has pushed me to meet new people and have fun, but not to the point I’m so overwhelmed.”
Ott said she is planning on attending West Virginia University after she graduates high school.
“I know quite a lot of people who attend there and it’s not too far from home,” she said.
She said she would love to study business.
“I also love the idea of going into some sort of occupation having to do with the international market,” she said. “I got interested after traveling to so many different places and other countries and seeing the difference and similarities in their environment and industry.”
Ott isn’t sure what she wants to do after college, but wants to live either somewhere north or in the mountains, where she can create or renovate her dream house.
In her spare time, Ott enjoys reading, journaling, collaging, scrapbooking and traveling.
“I love studying ancient civilizations and war strategies. I also love looking at other cultures and religions, “ she said. “I think traveling is my favorite interest since I can see these things in person.”
She also enjoys practicing the piano, the clarinet, and the guitar. She started learning the piano when she was 7, the clarinet when she was in fifth grade, and the guitar, because of her love of rock music, around seventh grade.
James Dobbs can be reached at [email protected]