StarQuestian Spotlight – Mr. StarQuest Syracuse 2016 – Jacob Mushak

April 28th, 2016 by Roy Patterson

starquest, starquest dance, syracuse, dance, dancer, tap dance, title, winner, autism, dance competition, dance competitions

We are beginning a new series on the StarQuest blog where we highlight members of the StarQuest community who exemplify the values of kindness, dedication, and always working to be the best version of themselves.

This month I choose to highlight Mr. StarQuest Syracuse 2016 – Jacob Mushak. Jacob dances with Arts in Movement Academy of Dance in Taylor, PA and has autism. April is National Autism Awareness Month, and StarQuest believes in doing our part to build a society that values and appreciates people who have autism spectrum disorders for their unique gifts and talents.

I caught up with Jacob and his mom last week to talk about what motivates him to dance:

StarQuest: How long have you been dancing at Arts in Movement Academy of Dance?
Jacob Mushak: Two years.

SQ: What is your favorite class to take at Arts in Movement Academy of Dance? Why is that class your favorite?
JM: My favorite class out of tap, hip hop, ballet, and acrobatics is tap. Tap is my favorite class because I like learning the new tap sounds and different combinations. Jacob Mushak - Mr StarQuest 2016 Syracuse - tap dancer with autism

SQ: Why do you love to dance?
JM: I find it soothing.

SQ: What is your favorite style of dancing? Why is that your favorite?
JM: My favorite style of dancing is tap. It’s my favorite style because I can create different sounds to match my emotions.

SQ: How do you feel when you perform? What kind of emotions do you feel when you are dancing?
JM: Before I perform I feel nervous. My emotions range from nervous to confident. Knowing I have support from my dance teacher and sister on the side of the stage helps me a lot.

SQ: What is your favorite dance memory – either in the studio or at a competition? Why is that your favorite?
JM: My favorite memory is walking through the doors of A.I.M. and hearing the sounds of the tap class that was going on at the time. It’s my favorite memory because I had never heard tapping like that before and it inspired me to be the best tapper I possibly can.

SQ: What impact do you think autism has on your dancing?
JM: None. I go to all my classes and do what is expected of a dancer.

SQ: What was it like winning the title of Mr. StarQuest at the StarQuest Regional Competition in Syracuse this April?
JM: At first I couldn’t believe my name was called. I felt that this couldn’t be happening and then I was so happy I was speechless.

SQ: Is there something that motivates you and helps inspire you to keep dancing?
JM: I really like the way Miss Courtney teaches class. She helps me understand the tap techniques.

SQ: What is your motto?
JM: “Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.” Jacob Mushak - Mr StarQuest Syracuse

Jacob’s story exemplifies what we promote at StarQuest – picking a dance goal, working towards it, and showing off the best version of YOU! StarQuestians are unstoppable! Thank you for inspiring us Jacob!

Mariel Pauline Rosen is the StarQuest social media concierge. She likes shiny things and believes in your sparkle!