Face of the Week: Abby Frisch of Sudbrook Magnet Middle School

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Face of the Week: Abby Frisch of Sudbrook Magnet Middle School

In many ways Abby Frisch is your typical teenager. The eighth grader loves shopping, listening to Ed Sheeran, doing arts and crafts, and spending time with her friends at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School. But at age 13, she’s already found what she wants to do with her life. Dance. And she has good reason to make this decision so early. She’s already having success on the world stage.

In early December, Abby finished competing in the World Tap Championships in Riesa, Germany. As a member of the American Tap Company, she was a part of groups that earned top ten finishes in the junior division of two categories. In the small group category she finished ninth, and in the formations category, which has larger groups, she finished seventh. 

This success hasn’t magically happened. Whether it’s studying a variety of dance styles at her home studio, Karen Sachs Academy of Dance in Reisterstown, practicing with the American Tap Company in Boston, making dance videos with the JaM Youth Project in Washington, D.C., or taking advantage of dance opportunities at Sudbrook, Abby figures she’s involved with dance seven days a week. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves to dance, and has since her first performance at age three.

“The first dance I did was called April Showers. I was a little raindrop,” she said. “I definitely loved it. It was so much fun.”

Abby’s mother, Jenn Frisch, a science teacher at Franklin Middle School, was quick to notice Abby’s knack for dance at a young age.  

“Even at age three when she took her first class, it was really evident that she could follow directions. She was ahead of where her peers were, and she picked up things so quickly,” Mrs. Frisch said. “Even when she was that young, she was sort of picked out of a crowd.”

Today, ballet, jazz, and contemporary are all dance styles Abby enjoys. She loves old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, and the style that pair perfected early on – tap. “I love that you make so many rhythms with such simple steps,” she said. “Even when someone doesn’t have their eyes open, it sounds so much more difficult than it truly is. I just think it’s really cool.”

Abby downplays her natural talent. She wants people to know that with dedication, anyone can dance.

“Really, it could be for anyone.  You just have to have a good teacher, and you have to want it,” she said. “That’s how you get it. You have to want to be able to do it.”

Speaking of good teachers, Abby feels fortunate to be a student at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School where everyone is supportive of her dance career. She mentioned her American History teacher, David Thursz.

“I like how he connects to his class, even with simple things like our uniform,” she said. “He says he wouldn’t make his students do something he wouldn’t be willing to do, so every day he wears his school polo shirt and khaki pants, just like us.”

Mr. Thursz appreciates the compliment, and is equally impressed with Abby. “Even with all of her dance commitments, she gets all of her work done and maintains excellent grades,” he said while adding that she’s “a true pleasure to have in class.”

Abby also mentioned her dance teacher as Sudbrook, Fleur Colimore. With all of her success out of school, she doesn’t take Colimore’s help for granted. “There’s always room for improvement. She’s helped me to refine many of my moves,” Abby said. “I do have a background in dance. I do probably know more than people who don’t dance outside of school, but she’ll help me a ton.”

Ms. Colimore notes Abby’s dedication to her school, where Abby is a choreographer for the school dance company, and participates in their Swingers Dance Company, All Honors Dance Ensemble, school musical, and the annual Nutcracker performance.

“Outside of being an amazing dancer, Abby is an incredible student, leader, and friend,” Ms. Colimore said. “She is always kind, helpful, and supportive with other students. She is modest yet confident in her own skills. She is a student that I can always count on to help others and lead in the right direction.  It has been my privilege and pleasure to teach her and work with her at Sudbrook. I look forward to our last few months together and watching her blossom into a powerful woman in the future.”

Abby isn’t sure what’s next after these next few months at Sudbrook. She hopes to be accepted into George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology for high school. After graduation, she isn’t sure if she’ll go directly into training, professional dance, or college. She is, however, certain that dance is what she wants to do with her life.

Aside from her ability as a dancer, Mrs. Frisch knows that Abby’s qualities as a person will take her places. “It’s remarkable that she’s able to balance her love of dance with her academics,” she said. “She’s just a kindhearted, hardworking, passionate young lady who puts her all into everything she does.”

Story by Jeff Flynn, library media specialist, Stemmers Run Middle School

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