Freshman Lindsey Black-Ross works ardently to balance her obligations for basketball, dance and academics (Courtesy Photo)

Hamilton freshmen Lindsey Black-Ross just started her basketball career with the Yankees girls’ basketball team. Her knowledge and experience with dance helped her as she gained more knowledge of basketball.

Black-Ross initially taught herself how to shoot and enrolled into a basketball training during her eighth-grade year. Once she reached Hamilton, she was playing on the varsity level. The transition was tough for Black-Ross, but it taught her the importance of asking for help.

“I barely knew the basics because every time I used to play, I used to just shoot around and play,” Black-Ross said. “I never played on a team that’s organized and it was a struggle.”

She did not know the significance of being in the Open Division playoffs, so she treated those games like an in-season game. When Black-Ross was subbed in, her assignment was to add defensive pressure and get boards.

Being a dancer helped Black-Ross develop her breathing and legs; it gave her the stamina to compete on the hardwood.

“Dance really helped me with my balance to save balls that would go out of bounds,” she said. “I could also maneuver through people but also in defense, I can hold the stance longer because my legs were developed.”

At the age of five, Black-Ross started learning dance at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. In the nine years she was there, Black-Ross learned various dance styles including contemporary, tap, hip-hop, on-pointe ballet, and African dance.

Her talent gave her the opportunity to perform at galas and special events for the academy; Black-Ross performed in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Annenberg Theatre, and at UCLA. She performed in the academy’s annual production of the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker for six years.

Black-Ross also had the opportunity to dance alongside the likes of Anthony Boreaux, Shantell Health, and Misty Copeland.

“I was so happy and I couldn’t stop smiling and I took one thousand pictures with her,” she said about Copeland. “That was one of the best experiences and I got a leotard signed by her.”

A fond moment for Black-Ross was when she danced in a video shoot with choreographer Comfort Fedoke.

At Hamilton, Black-Ross is majoring in dance. After auditioning for the program, she qualified for level intermediate 3, the second highest level of the dance program.

“We do Jazz and modern and sometimes we have a ballet class,” she said. “There’s a slight chance that I’ll move up to the last level next year.”

Although she was advised to not take on dance and basketball at the same time, Black-Ross continued to balance the two ventures along with her schoolwork.

“It was challenging at the beginning, but the second semester … I had to get my flow,” Black-Ross said. “I was focusing on one thing and forgetting about the other.”

Black-Ross recently took an honors English glass and enjoyed her math class due to the efforts of her teacher.

“She explained it so well that I could understand it,” she said. “I used to struggle in math, but now math is one of my easiest subjects, it’s my highest grade right now.”

Through the years, Black-Ross has acquired snowboarding skills and has considered working towards competing in the Olympics in snowboarding.

“I chose snowboarding because it’s closer to skateboarding,” she said. “I love the outdoors and I like to skateboard.”