Dancing has been a part of Abby Ellison’s life since she was only seven years old. Before graduating in the spring, Ellison wanted to kickstart her dream dance career with auditions around the country. She started a campaign on Indiegogo.com, a website that allows people from around the world to fund anything from independent films to new smartphone technology. Ellison began her campaign in December 2013 and ended up surpassing her $1000 goal with two weeks to spare.
written by Allison Klinghammer
Q: Where did you get the idea for the Indiegogo campaign?
A: Well, I’ve had a lot of artist friends who are starting their own projects in New York, and they did Indiegogo projects, so I thought maybe I could look into that. With how much money it takes to get to all these auditions, I thought that there was no way I could do it on my own. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like to ask for help, but I just had to put my pride aside and try.
Q: Were the funders usually people that you knew, or just strangers who were inspired by your story?
A: It was a mix. There were a couple people who I had no idea who they were. They just donated and said they were really inspired by what I was trying to do, and they’re just supportive of the arts. I was really honored to get funded by people who don’t even know me. But a lot were also family friends or friends of mine.
Q: How long have you been dancing?
A: I started when I was seven, at a local dance studio. And I’ve stayed there ever since, until I graduated high school. It was a lot of training in ballet, mostly. And then from there, I came here [to Webster] and just kept training. Because I knew – once I got to middle school, early high school—I knew that was what I wanted to do, just dance. I never really fell out of love with it.
Q: What kind of dance do you prefer?
A: I mainly focus in ballet, but I also like a lot of contemporary jazz work, and that’s where I want to end up dancing.
Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a dancer?
A: I tried everything else and I was really bad at it all! I was in ice-skating and gymnastics, but I just couldn’t do anything. So I tried dance because it was one of the last options, and I guess that stuck.
Q: Where is the ultimate place you want dance to take you?
A: I would love to end up in Europe and dancing with a company. I just love to travel. I want to experience what I can here, but I just really want to end up overseas.
Q: Are your friends and family supportive of your dancing career?
A: Oh yeah. My mom thought the Indiegogo project was a great idea. She was like, “If you need the money, ask. I’m sure people will fund you because they know it’s going towards a good cause.” And my friends—a lot of my friends are dancers, so of course they’re supportive. Even my non-dance friends, they’ve been spreading the word about my project. So everyone’s been really supportive.
Q: Would you suggest an Indiegogo campaign to others?
A: Yes. I was very unsure about it, but I decided to do it anyway. I feel like everybody should—if they really need help, to get help and just try. Because people are willing to fund your dreams.