When Paxton Adkins was 4, her mom took her to see Bristol Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker," and she was hooked on the magic. "I told her I wanted to do it. I haven't stopped since," Paxton says.
It remains her favorite ballet. "I have always enjoyed the story since the first time I saw it, when I was 4. I also loved performing it with the Bristol Ballet, particularly when I was Clara in 2013. I loved having the freedom to express the way I felt about the character and get creative with the role on stage. "
Paxton has performed in three other dances from "The Nutcracker." She was the lead in ""Russian Dance." And she had roles in "Waltz of the Flowers" and "Waltz of the Snow."
Her first experience on stage was in the party scene of "A Christmas Carol." She has danced "Santa Mambo" and "Green Sleeves" in Bristol Ballet's "Cool Christmas" production. She has danced roles in "Coppelia," including the solo "Dawn.'"
She says that two of her teachers, Michelle Plescia and Pat Holden, are her biggest influences. "They both have given me wonderful advice and instruction for many years, and they challenge me to push myself in everything that I do. I am also influenced by my fellow dancers. They are some of my closest friends, and they help me work very hard for anything that I want to achieve."
Paxton's latest achievement is being accepted for the Charlotte Ballet's summer intensive program. "This was my first audition, and I was not sure what to expect. I had to really focus and apply everything that I have learned. It was a great experience, and I was thrilled to be accepted.
"To me, ballet means the ability to entertain people while putting my emotions into something I enjoy doing. It's amazing to do something you have loved for a long time and get to watch yourself improve and strive to be better every time you perform, rehearse or even just take a class. It really is just awesome to have something to turn to and challenge yourself to do. I am thankful for this gift that God has given me," Paxton says.
Paxton isn't completely sure about what she wants to do in the future - she's only 14 - but she is considering becoming a physical therapist.
"Through this career I might be able to work with dancers, which I think would be lots of fun. It would allow me to remain in the dance world while branching out into another field. I think this would be beneficial because I could work with dancers or even dance while still earning a living."
When she isn't in school at Bluff City Middle School or at ballet class, which she attends five days a week, she likes to go to church, spend time with her family and friends, play softball and run track.
Paxton is the daughter of Allen and Angie Adkins and lives in Bristol, Tennessee.