Sarah Howard earns place in Chicago performing arts school

Senior+Sarah+Howard%2C+right%2C+works+with+a+class+at+Miss+Lindas+dance+studio.

Senior Sarah Howard, right, works with a class at Miss Linda’s dance studio.

Jen Verzuh

Senior Sarah Howard, right, works with a class at Miss Linda's dance studio.

One Montana resident is ditching the cold winds of Great Falls and heading for the official Windy City.

“I can’t wait to be in Chicago,” Sarah Howard said. “Columbia’s going to be freaking awesome!”
Howard, a C.M. Russell High School senior, was recently accepted into the performing arts school Columbia College Chicago, where she plans to major in dance performance and minor in teaching.

Howard has been dancing for 14 of her 17 years, and in that time has studied multiple types of dance, including ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, step, modern, praise, lyrical, pointe, and musical theatre. She said hip hop is her favorite.

“I feel like I can express myself best in it,” Howard said.

Howard has been studying dance at Miss Linda’s School of Dance since she moved to Great Falls in March 2010.

“I actually went there the day after I got here and signed up,” she said.

Howard said she loves dance because it allows her to express herself.

“I don’t have to hold myself back when I’m dancing,” Howard said. “I don’t have to think about other people, just myself and what I’m doing.”

After graduating from college, Howard said she hopes to dance on London’s West End and eventually open her own studio in Scotland, as she has a real passion for teaching and Scotland.

“I really liked the area,” Howard said. “It felt like the kind of place I could spend the rest of my life in.”

Howard is getting experience as a dance instructor right now at Miss Linda’s, where she teaches stepping and substitutes in hip hop and praise.

“I like it a lot,” she said. “Knowing that somebody’s looking to me for something and that I can help them become a better dancer.”

Kaylee Osentowska, 12, is currently in a hip hop class at Miss Linda’s, which is often taught by Howard. Osentowska said Howard has made her more confident.

“She makes me more open to new styles and techniques,” Osentowska said. “She’s always fun.”

Osentowska has been studying hip hop for four years and lists many of the same reasons Howard did as to why she loves it.

“It’s very flowing,” Osentowska said. “It’s a great way to express yourself in ways that words can’t.”

Osentowska was happy for Howard and her recent success at being accepted into Columbia.

“I think she’s going to have a great time doing the thing she likes every day,” she said.

Osentowska, however, wasn’t the only person excited for Howard.

“We were so excited when we found out about it. We were jumping and hugging,” Linda Fuller, aka Miss Linda, said of her and Howard’s behavior after they learned she’d been accepted at the Chicago school.

“She’s really determined,” Fuller said. “She’s not afraid to do anything.”

Fuller said she’s typically at the studio six or seven days a week.

“I admire her for being so goal-oriented,” Fuller said.