Blood, sweat, and four years: OU grad, Alma Cienski

High school and college seniors may not be getting a traditional graduation ceremony this year, so LaDuca wanted to give a special shoutout to honor and celebrate the class of 2020.

An announcement from Phil LaDuca

We also wanted to feature dancers from the class of 2020 as they embark on their journey to pursue professional careers in the performing arts. Here’s our recent interview with University of Oklahoma grad, Alma Cienski:

Where did you grow up and when did you start dancing?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Although I tried out several different sports as a kid (soccer, softball, swimming), my heart was drawn to performing, and so my interests in athletics and performance found a perfect home in the dance studio.

Tell us a bit about your shoe-fitting dilemma, especially when it comes to dance shoes.

Something unique about me as both a dancer and an individual is that I was born with a severe clubfoot affecting my left foot (meaning that my left foot was very sickled) for  which I received two surgeries before the age of 5. My left foot has many difference from my right, including its size. For as long as I can remember, I have had to buy two pairs of shoes, leaving me with a closet of shoeboxes and mismatched shoes; This includes dance shoes as well. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I actually learned about a few companies that offered shoe exchanges for one price, like Nordstrom. However, because Nordstrom only sells regular shoes, I expected this rather expensive issue to remain as I continued to pursue dance.

How did LaDuca try to solve your issue?

When I discovered my love for theatre and commercial dance, I knew LaDuca’s were in my future. However, LaDuca’s are an investment, and because of my shoe-buying history, I expected the price for my shoes to be double. I wanted to be very intentional about which pair of LaDuca’s I would get: I followed the Instagram account, browsed the website for hours and asked friends and teachers their opinions, all looking for the best style. I decided my senior year would be the best time to buy and break in my LaDuca’s before audition season. I emailed the LaDuca store, set up my appointment and my parents and I visited the store in New York, where we were greeted by the most wonderful staff. From the moment we walked in to the day my shoes arrived in the mail, the assistant at the store, Andrew, was the most helpful person I have ever had fit me in shoes. He informed me that I could get two different sizes in one box, extend or shorten any strap and even change the width on one or both shoes, all to fit MY feet. The custom pricing was so reasonable that I actually ended up getting an extra pair because my parents couldn’t believe it! For the first time in my life, LaDuca offered me the opportunity to dance in a pair of shoes that are made especially and only for me. The only thing I wish I would have done differently is get my hands on them sooner!

Why do you love dancing in your LaDucas?

I love dancing in my LaDuca’s because they truly are the most comfortable heel I have ever worn. I have worn several brands of character shoes, and often times, wearing heels can cause pain in my ankles – This has never been a problem in my LaDuca’s! Their description of their shoe’s being like “a jazz shoe with a heel” is so accurate. I love my Laduca’s because they simultaneously give me the range and support to dance to the extent that I want to. Instead of worrying about the shoe, I can take the floor feeling fully confident.

What are you studying in school?

I am a senior at the University of Oklahoma, graduating with degrees in both modern dance performance and public relations in May 2020.

What are your goals and dreams after you graduate?

I have always wanted to be a performer. However, after attending the Rockettes Summer Intensive when I was 15, I discovered exactly the type of dance I wanted to pursue. My dream job as a dancer is to become a Rockette and dance at Radio City four shows a day, six days a week! After dancing professionally, I would love to use my skills off-stage and continue working in the entertainment industry.

Congratulations, Alma and to the class of 2020! Love, LaDuca

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