By ANNA BIRBIGLIA
Alphonse Engram is a sophomore in the brand-new dance B.F.A. program. Not only is he starring in the spring production of “Cat in the Hat,” he will also be featured in two Senior Dance Concert pieces, an ACDA piece and is also a member of the Demon Dazzlers.
How does he do all of this and maintain a 3.7 GPA, a business minor and maintain 6 scholarships/grants?
NSU wasn’t the only school Engram got accepted to. He highly considered Oklahoma City University and Arizona State University. Ultimately, he decided to choose NSU because it was closest to his mother.
Engram doesn’t regret his decision and in fact believes NSU to have been his best choice. He said that NSU “is an amazing school. The activities and atmosphere are amazing. The faculty makes everything easier and fun while giving a great educational background. Also, the campus is beautiful, and it makes it easier to just go walk around with some friends.”
From the beginning his mom was his biggest supporter. Engram’s mother comes to as many of his performance she can, which as you can tell for him is quite a lot.
Throughout his life, it has been his mom and him against the world. When Engram was young, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. His mother, though understanding, was very admitting about making sure Engram was never able to use it as a crutch.
“She always pushed me and made sure that it was easier for me in the future,” Engram said. “She’s my best friend.”
Engram now also suffers from major depressive disorder, but if you were to meet him, you would never think that was a something wrong with him. Despite everything, he has a sunny disposition and a sweet smile for anyone willing to accept it.
Engram grew up in the small town of Deridder, Louisiana. Despite what it seems, he didn’t start dancing until his freshman year of high school. As recital was approaching at his local dance studio, he decided to go and watch with a few of his friends which led him to seeing another male dancer in his town perform.
This lit a fire for Alphonse, and he immediately enrolled.
“I started like the babies,” he explained. “I took tap and ballet at first.” He first began in classes with his two step-sisters at the time. Eventually about a month later, his instructors began to suggest that he bump up a level due to how quickly he was picking each skill up.
“I bumped up to the higher level, but I stayed in the lower level class as well to help out with my step-sisters.” Later in high school as a junior and senior he began to compete with his studio and also joined his high school dance line.
Nearly every day Engram wakes up for early morning Dazzler rehearsals and then proceeds to go to his three or four classes, depending on the day, which total to twenty-four hours. He then gets a small break before attending his evening rehearsals which are from 4:00-10:00 p.m. every evening and will continue until the show opens in March. On top of these daily commitments, Engram must also complete morning workouts and a two-mile run each week for Dazzlers.
Engram dreams of one day opening his own studio in Branson, Missouri. This is why he has added a business minor and is now even considering an HMT minor. He first became enraptured with Branson when he visited for a dance competition.
He wants to be able to teach others his passion for dance.
“I don’t want to be known for what I did. I want to be known for who I am,” Engram said.
I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Alphonse Engram personally on my own senior dance concert piece. He is one of the hardest working, kindest individuals I have ever encountered. If there is anyone on this campus that embodies and represents NSU, it is with no doubt Alphonse Engram.
Whether you see him walking around or on the field, his bright personality and upbeat attitude will always make you smile. When asked for a final quote, all he had to say was “and always fork ‘em demons,” and that says it all.