Amelia Lowe does not think she can dance. She knows she can.
Dancing has been second nature to the 18-year-old resident since she was three years old. Now, she has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase her skills for a nation full of audience members as she
"I have been doing it for so long and now, I feel like it's a large part of who I am. When I'm dancing, I feel like I'm the most at ease and the most myself," she said. "I feel like I can relax and forget about my other issues while I'm dancing."
Lowe lives with her parents, Karen and Scotty, and sister, Katie, 26, in the borough. She first learned to dance at the on Carey Avenue. Lowe also studied dance at the Performing Arts Academy in Pompton Lakes when she was younger and attended high school at the Morris County School of Technology, where her studies focused on dancing and theatre.
When she was younger, she enjoyed more acrobatic types of dancing. Her current specialty is contemporary dance.
On the show, which will air again on July 11 at 8 p.m., she has advanced far past auditions and is amongst 20 competitors, all vying for the title of "America's Favorite Dancer," according to the show's website. Dancers compete in various styles.
Lowe said she was inspired to try out for the show out of admiration for the competition for several years.
"I had been watching the show since it first started," she said.
To ensure she has the best chance possible at continuing to advance, she has a few "lucky charms" with her, including a bracelet from her mother, a lucky coin from her father and a swan pin from her sister. These charms, and her own self-confidence, help her when she faces the judges and the viewers judging at home.
"I just always remind myself that I have to just be who I am, I can't try to be anyone else and I can't try to please other people," she said.
Lowe's road to the other side of the television came with challenges as well.
Her mother said the entire family made a commitment to support the dancer as she pursued her dreams.
"It has been quite a sacrifice through the course of the years to be able to do this," Karen Lowe said. "It's a very big expense, for any family, for [dancers] to be able to participate. It was a lot and we went in this together. My husband and I decided to give her this chance. We're very happy to see her have some success in it."
She was a dancer as well and Lowe said she danced in her first recital alongside her mother. The Lowe family has made life changes to support her, including her mother quitting work to accomodate her daughter's schedule.
"You really had to make a full-family commitment," she said. "It's really and truly everyone behind her to see that she had this chance."
Despite the costs and traveling to recitals and performances, watching her daughter's success has been incredibly rewarding, she said.
"It's very satisfying. It's a very rewarding feeling. You just throw it out there and you hope something will come of it," she said.
Lowe said she would not be where she is today without pushing herself extremely hard.
"The show has been a wonderful experience, but it's definitely been a really difficult one and hard to get through," she said.
Lowe said the amount of dancing done in between shows is more than she has ever encountered, with rehearsals lasting up to 12 hours and more intense practices lasting seven hours in Las Vegas. But Lowe believes that working hard is what differentiates her from other contestants on the show and what will help others achieve their goals.
"Hard work trumps talent every time," she said. "Even if someone may not seem really gifted, if you always are hard working, you're going to outshine someone who's really gifted."