Southsider Voice correspondent
Wearing a Christmas red dress and a crisp white coat, standing under nearly 5,000 lights, surrounded by an audience of more than 120,000, that is where 11-year-old Adia Dant can be found Friday evening.
After competing against 136 talents from across the state, Adia was named as one of 10 finalists before claiming a spot as one of five entertainers chosen to perform at the Circle of Lights event on Monument Circle, which will be televised from 7-8 p.m. on WTHR Channel 13.
“I’m really excited and I’m really nervous at the same time,” Adia said of her performance.
As the only daughter and youngest child of Chris and Kimberly Dant, this sixth-grade student at St. Jude Catholic School is no stranger to the stage.
At the age of 3, she started dance classes.
Five years and countless dance recitals later, Adia was chosen for a Broadway national tour of “Annie.” Sometimes she starred as Pepper. At least twice each week she donned the curly red wig and took the stage as the headliner.
Giving their daughter a chance at her dream has called for significant lifestyle changes and sacrifices, Chris Dant said.
So Adia could be present for numerous rehearsals, Kim and Adia temporarily moved to New York City, leaving dad and Adia’s older brother, Abraham, 17, at home to fend for themselves.
A blur of packing, unpacking and waiting in airports followed. In 45 weeks Adia performed 310 shows in 32 cities.
Chris Dant gives Kim Dant all the credit for keeping the family intact.
“My wife made it all work,” he said. “She was always very organized and very committed. If she and Adia were within maybe five hours of driving, Kim made sure that Abe and I had scheduled times to meet them.”
Back at home now for 18 months, Adia continues to explore acting, singing and dancing possibilities with the help of two agents. But she has also happily slipped back into a much more normal life.
Instead of continuing home-schooling, Adia asked to return to school. She is an energetic cheerleader and a member of the speech team. A few days ago she tried out for the volleyball team.
“It’s really quite amazing how she can pursue her dream on a daily basis while also just being a sixth-grade girl,” Kim said.