Against the Odds, Young Native Girl Winning Ballet Competitions
By Joe Morey
Aundreya Stand is a young Lac Courte Oreilles girl who performs in ballet competitions and brings home trophy’s, according to her guardian, Sue Aasen who has raised her since she was 15 months old. She is 12 years old now.
Aundreya has been in ballet since she was three years old, and “Against all odds, coming from a broken family with a deceased mother from drug overdose and her father not being around, Aundreya puts her heart in dancing. I encourage Aundreya to dance with a lot of spirit for her mom and dad,” Aasen explained.
Aundreya’s mother had issues with drug addiction and her father was on the streets. The little girl was in foster care before she was one years old and when Aundreya was four, her mother passed away from an overdose.
“Although Aundreya and her father love each other very much, he’s been in jail and it bothers her,” Aasen explained. “They do have a relationship that I’m supportive of. He’ll be getting out of jail in June and he’ll come stay with us.”
Aasen said Sylvia at Sylvia’s Dance Studio in Hayward is where Aundreya started in ballet. Aundreya asked Sylvia for permission to do a solo performance at a competition and she came home with a first-place trophy in her category. This was at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center in May of 2018. This was her first solo performance and it was before a crowd of about 300 parents and family of all the dancers.
“As often as Aundreya performed this dance, her ballet teacher and relatives cried when they saw her in the performance,” Aasen said. Last month, she was part of a group dance competition on a team of seven girls (3 of them LCO) where they earned a Platinum award, the highest you can win, Aasen said. The girls also earned a Highest Scored Performance award.
“Sylvia’s Dance Studio also took home the Judge’s Choice Award,” Aasen said.
The discipline, preparation and teamwork are critical to even place in one of these events, Aasen noted. “The crowd is very large, and the children come from all over the Midwest. The schedule of dancers start at 8:00 am and runs until 10:00 pm. There seems to be about 300-400 children on stage at the end of the shows to receive the awards. The energy and excitement is spectacular.”
This is Aasen’s way to help keep Aundreya clean and sober. In addition to her love for ballet, she also enjoys basketball and ice skating. “She’s very athletic and she’s tall for her age,” Aasen noted.
According to Aasen, Aundreya is very spirited. “She’s LCO, Red Lake and Standing Rock Lakota,” Aasen said. “She travels with me a lot and when she goes out to Standing Rock to see her relatives, she rides horses bare back.”
Aundreya is also a fancy shawl dancer. Aasen added she is a naturalist because of her teachings at Wadookaadading, where she attends school.
Aasen said Aundreya is really concerned about people who have drug addiction and worries a lot about her relatives. Every year at Mother’s Day she writes a note to her mother. She recently attended a local film titled “Written off”. The viewing helped her a lot to learn about drug abuse.”