‘Talent from Day 1’: Raleigh native Ariana DeBose’s Oscar run makes Raleigh dance studio proud

RALEIGH, NC — One of Sunday’s Oscar stars we’ll be watching closely is Raleigh’s own Ariana DeBose. She is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s production of “West Side Story.”

Sunday is also a big time for CC and Co. Dance Complex in North Raleigh. Ariana started there in 6th grade, learned her trade, and stayed until the end of Wake Forest High School.

“She was a talent from day one, she knew what she wanted,” said CC and Co. Dance founder Christy Curtis. “She was super go-getter and worked super hard.”

Christy founded the studio 17 years ago. She said Ariana came back to give lessons and the kids learning their craft were inspired.

Curtis said the photos of her on the wall also inspire dancers every day.

“She just let a whole bunch of people know that they can find their own path by accessing their passion and their purpose in life in a unique way,” Curtis said.

Curtis and many others will watch Sunday at Theater Raleigh about ten minutes from the dance studio.

Ariana’s mother, Gina, an 8th grade teacher at Wakefield Middle School, will be flying to Los Angeles to be with her daughter in person.

She said she was in the studio grading papers while Ariana chased her dreams.

“I think getting out there and having the opportunity to network with industry professionals has helped Ariana open a lot of doors for her that she may not have known she had,” Gina said.

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