Pasco teen dancer wins Arts4All Florida competition by following his passion, inspiring others

The Arts4All Florida Young Performers Competition recognizes remarkable artists with a disability, ages 14-24, in dance, drama/theatre, and music. The contest supports talented performers annually and encourages them to flourish in a successful career in the arts.
This year, the Arts4All Florida Young Performers Competition awarded 18-year-old Lawrence Carter from Pasco County for his excellence in dance performance. Carter is a high school junior who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2½.
“My mother and many other people that I look up to definitely inspire me to do what I do every day and to keep moving forward. Also, with me being high-functioning Autistic, since the age of 3, keeps me motivated,’’ says Carter.

“I wake up early every morning and hit the barre and floor in ballet/dance classes for 5-8 hours a day doing what I love because I enjoy the feeling of inspiring others by representing me and my story. I do not let my disability stop me while humbling others and making them successful.”

Carter fell in love with the art of dance when he was just 7 years old and has not allowed anything to hold him back from accomplishing his dreams. He says dance is his true passion and he has worked extremely hard to get where he is today.
When asked whathas been the most influential moment in his career in dance, Carter says everything has been influential.

“I found a passion that I deeply enjoy since the 2nd grade at my old school, Renaissance Academy, and local dance studio Kelly’s Dance Academy. At age 11, I eventually moved onto another studio, Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy, where I gained a bunch of knowledge, strength, technique, and confidence,’’ he says.

Then, at age 17, he auditioned for the Joffrey Ballet School’s Summer Intensive program.

“I was accepted and won a 100 percent scholarship to their summer program in NYC, which has been one of the most thankful moments of my life,’’ Carter says. “In conclusion, I was offered a scholarship to their year-round Ballet Trainee Program. And now, I’m currently training with the Joffrey Ballet School in Dallas, Texas. Overall, that has probably been one of the most influential moments of my career so far, knowing that all my hard work and training is paying off.”

Later this month, he will be performing an interpretive dance to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” in a Arts4All Florida Youth Ensemble music video.

More about Arts4All Florida

Every year professors of dance, theatre, and music facilitate an adjudication process to select outstanding artists for each category. All applicants are given adjudication scores and written critiques that aid in the development and refinement of their skills.

“Arts4All Florida is pleased to offer winners of this competition opportunities to perform in a variety of events, such as local festivals, our Youth Ensemble music videos, or even our larger productions like From Backstage to Center Stage,” says Arts4All Florida’s Director of Programs Karla Aguayo.
Arts4All Florida is a private nonprofit organization focused on recognizing the accomplishments of artists with disabilities. The Arts4All Florida Young Performers Competition allows these artists to demonstrate their exceptional skills in the arts.

“Interested artists should keep an eye on our website and social media around November when we announce the opening of the competition each year. We accept applicants in dance, music, and musical theatre/drama. I recommend choosing your best three samples of work and giving yourself time to write, and edit, your personal narrative,” says Aguayo. 

Additional 2022 winners in each category

  • 16-year-old Grace Steigerwald from Osceola County
  • 24-year-old Rebecca Oslacky from Orange County
  • 17-year-old cellist Adam Vuong from Miami-Dade County
  • 24-year-old pianist James Williams from Pasco County
  • 20-year-old Carson Monticello from Nassau County
  • 21-year-old Katrina Novack from Broward County

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Read more articles by Meghan Christopher.

Meghan Christopher is a graduating senior at the University of Tampa pursuing a degree in advertising and public relations. Originally from Palm Harbor, her dream job is to work for a public relations agency dedicated to social change. Meghan also is on the digital communications committee for PRSA Tampa Bay and currently works as a public relations intern for Lynn Public Relations. Meghan enjoys painting, spending time with friends, and finding new places to explore in the Tampa Bay Area.