When incoming Coral Gables High senior Shayla Durant is not at school, she’s probably on a stage as an actress, singer and dancer.
“I want to perform on Broadway when I get older,” she said. “I love musical theater. Acting lets you be another person on stage and gives you the freedom to be whatever character you want to be. There’s no shyness on stage.”
She is working on her dream by taking musical theater and dance classes at the Mad Dancing Company at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center.
“I started singing when I was 12,” she said. “I discovered it in the summer. I didn’t know I could do dancing, singing and acting. Until I went to the African Cultural Arts Center Summer Camp.”
She was discovered at the camp by a choreographer and joined a dance company she switched around and has now settled with Mad Dancing Company.
“We recently performed at a Heat game,” she said. “And we auditioned for America’s Got Talent. In the musical theater performance area, we do two per year.”
At Gables, Durant is in the Cavalier Singers and Thespians. She is an original member of the Gables step team, Sisters With Attitude.
Durant also is in Future Business Leaders of America. She competes in the Public Speaking category.
In the summer, Durant volunteers at a basketball camp at Christopher Columbus High School, where her brothers and cousins attended.
“I love basketball and I love kids,” she said. “I allocated the lunches and snacks. And I helped set up whatever equipment they need in the morning and then in the afternoon. They give me a group to watch over and take to different stations.”
Now that college is looming, Durant is narrowing her application list. She’s considering Julliard, NYU, UCLA, New World School of the Arts and Florida State University. Her major will be musical theater.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld