Humans of AMHS: Eva Sullivan

Humans of AMHS shares the individual stories within the Mitty community in the student’s own voice. Featured here is Eva Sullivan, a member of the class of 2026.


Eva Sullivan (in green) posing after winning at the All Star Dance competition.

Once I started ballroom dancing, I felt a stronger connection with family, cultivated memorable experiences, and got the chance to truly challenge myself.

Ballroom dancing may seem like a formal style of dance, but it is, in fact, accessible to everyone—whether they want to pursue it competitively or as a hobby—because of its two distinct forms, American & International. American is the type of dancing you’d find at a party, where it’s all about simple steps and having fun. International ballroom dancing, the one I do, is the more competitive style, which emphasizes using appropriate form and technique which can only be mastered through hard work and practice.

Under the division of International ballroom dancing, I focus on the Latin category which consists of the Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Samba, and Paso Doble styles. Specific sharp movements with complicated steps and dance partners are characteristic of these styles. Partner dancing—although it may initially sound odd or awkward—became very enjoyable for me once I decided to give it a try. It requires that I establish a connection in the partnership and simultaneously tune my own rhythm with the music. The kind of focus, grace, and fluidity that is necessary challenges and motivates me to improve my coordination and movements. I also think everything is more fun when done in pairs, especially dance!

Initially, I started my dance journey with ballet, jazz, and tap, but I wanted to explore new regions. I found my calling in ballroom dancing because it provided me with more challenges; for instance, the classes had a more advanced level system where I could dedicate myself to improving step by step. I was especially determined to pursue it long-term because it provided a means for me to connect with my family who was also passionate about this style of dance. For instance, my mom’s former dance teacher still teaches at the dance studio I train today, just one of the reasons why I feel a deep connection with my past generations while ballroom dancing.

I have participated in three competitions in my eight years of ballroom dancing. While they can feel stressful and nerve-wracking, the competitive success of placing on top in all of them is very rewarding and a testimony to all my hard work paying off. However, the aspect of competitions I cherish the most is not the actual experience of performing, but the whirlwind of emotions I undergo from nervousness to satisfaction after successfully completing a routine. In my opinion, the best feeling during competitions is the adrenaline rush that accompanies being in such a demanding environment. Of course, there are less stressful moments in ballroom dancing like participating in the premieres at my studio, where adding my own creativity is largely welcome.

Realizing the progress I have made through ascending seven levels from a pre-bronze level dancer to an open silver one is still a shock from time to time. I have made many great wonderful memories along the way including some funny ones such as when I and my dance teacher barely made it for our performance, and he hopped on the stage still struggling to tie his shoes. I hope I will be able to treasure these moments forever. As for ballroom dancing, I can say that it has been my mode of expression and a catalyst for growth in dance and other aspects of my life,