Southsider Voice correspondent
In a New York City motel room, 10-year-old Adia Dant nonchalantly mentioned on the telephone that she and other “Annie” characters recently performed the national anthem at the U.S. Open Arthur Ashe Kids Day.
That opportunity came a few weeks after she completed an 11-month tour as a star performer in “Annie.”
There is no doubt about it, Adia’s popularity on the Broadway stage has literally placed the family on wheels.
“Adia’s passion has dramatically changed our life,” said mom Kim Dant during the telephone conversation. “You miss your family. You miss your dog, your bed and home-cooked meals.”
Two years ago, Adia’s talents in dance, vocals and acting took her from the Southside to the Big Apple.
Adia has loved to dance since she was a toddler. As she got older she “dabbled in local theater.” But when an agent and a manager signed on to launch this bubbly girl’s dream, “It went very fast from there,” Kim said.
Kim and Adia have made 10 trips to New York, where Adia completes home-schooling assignments, works with vocal and acting coaches, rehearses and performs.
“We are so used to the city now,” Kim said. “We can walk anywhere. We can navigate the subway system too.”
When there was a loophole in the demanding tour schedule of 32 cities, the family, including dad, Chris Dant, and older brother, Abraham, rushed to fill it with time together.
“I have learned to be quite flexible and to run with a lot less sleep,” Kim said. “I am just following Adia’s lead. If it wasn’t for her passion, I would be at home. But as long as she has a passion – for this or for anything else in life – that’s important. For right now, this is the path.”
Adia, who will be in Saturday’s ABC Labor Day Miracle Mile Parade, said she occasionally suffers pre-performance jitters. “When I get stage fright I talk really fast and my stomach has butterflies.”
She performed before her largest audience – 18,000 people – last year at Millennium Park in Chicago.
But Adia then announces that in a couple of days she and her mom will head home.
Her thoughts happily switch from performances to time at home with Vivian, the family dog.
When she’s not memorizing lines, lyrics and dance steps, Adia loves to ride her bike. She loves horses. She loves to knit and watch TV while eating chips.
“My favorite colors are mint green, hot pink, zebra print and sparkles,” this well-known actress said with a giggle. “Oh, I also like blue.”
While many younger sisters might loathe their older brothers, Adia idolizes Abraham, a 16-year-old junior at Roncalli.
“I miss seeing my brother’s face every day. He just got his license, and he has his own car.”