This is Shaina.
Happy, joyous, eccentric, loud. These are the words that come to mind whenever I'm around this wonderful woman of God. She currently lives in the upper east side with her older sister and goes to school for ballet. She's been a ballet dancer for more than 12 years! But Shaina didn't always want to be a ballet dancer. She'll tell you all about how she also loves sports and singing as well! Shaina is extremely talented in every skill that God has given her. I am very fortunate to know yet another passionate and creative person as she is.
Hi, I'm Shaina. I'm 20 and from a small town in New Jersey called Sussex County. Growing up, my 4 siblings and I always attended church with my parents. My dad played drums in our worship team, and at 8 years old, I started singing with them. I loved it. This is also around the time I started training in ballet, a decision that would put me where I am today.
Starting middle school, I switched from a private Christian school to a public school, where I maybe knew one person. It was terrifying, but luckily I'm not a shy person, so I adjusted pretty quickly. I became known as "The Dancer" by everyone, teachers included, because I would leave school early for rehearsals or dance competitions.
In January of my 8th grade year, I was accepted into the University Of North Carolina School Of The Arts high school ballet program. To be honest, I think my mom was more excited than I was. I didn't want to go. My whole life was in New Jersey and I couldn't think about leaving. I also had a boyfriend at the time (obviously at 13, you think a 3 month relationship is serious) and I didn't want to leave him either. I became so angry with my parents for making me go. I went through a phase where I wasn't eating, I refused to talk to them, and I didn't listen to anything they had to say in the matter.
At the time, I didn't realize how much of a blessing this way. This move was about to further my career in ballet, one I desperately was trying to pursue. I remember sobbing in the back of my parents car on the drive down to Winston-Salem, to the point where my mom was about to tell my dad to turn around and take us home. Looking back I'm glad she didn't.
Freshman year was great. I made some amazing friends and learned so much. It was also the year I started to really distance myself from God. I don't think I attended church once that year. I started making bad choices, which I thought were right at the time, and couldn't understand why they didn't work out. I only went to UNCSA for a year and then moved back home sophomore year, due to finical issues.
My junior year of high school, I moved to New York City to attend The Joffrey Ballet School. I was still not going to church, and I was making even worse choices. I wasn't used to having so much freedom, and I think I took advantage of it, something I regret.
After a year in the school, I was asked to join the Joffrey Concert Group, the touring studio company of the school. We were constantly on the road, and I don't think I talked to God once during this time. I started drinking after a tour to Italy and when I came home, I started to party with all of my friends, at least four times a week for basically the whole summer.
Noticing this change in me, my parents sent me to the LIFE conference with my church, in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a week long conference and the first time I had really been in the presence of God in about 3 years. It was incredible. I have never cried so much in my entire life. Even growing up in a Christian household, this was the first time I actually felt like I had a relationship with Jesus. It really changed me for the better, and I can't thank my parents enough for sending me there.
Once back in the city, I started attending Hillsong, and I fell in love with it instantly. The first few times I started going, I couldn't stop crying. I had never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit impacting me that much before, that it brought me to tears every single time. I even was able to bring my sister to service, and she too fell in love with it. We went every Sunday down at Irving Plaza, and waiting in that line was worth it.
I feel like I had been reborn again through Christ and finally understood what it meant to have a relationship with him. I recently started going to midtown every week and I have felt a change within me. It's an amazing feeling and I have never wanted to walk with God as much as I do now.
Shaina is just amazing to be around. Her smile is contagious and her heart is so admirable.
LUV YA HAHT SCHMØNEY