If you haven’t heard her voice leading the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, or seen her at the welcome back assembly stunning the crowd with her senior spotlight, you’ll probably recognize Tessa Fungo (12) as the lead in this fall’s ADV play, the captain of the Comedy Sportz team, or the president of ASB.
In spite of her rigorous academic course load, intensive dance schedule, and seemingly endless list of extracurriculars, Tessa still somehow finds the time to attend almost every school event, never losing her smile as she runs around making sure everything runs smoothly.
As someone with so much charisma, dedication, and talent, it is no wonder that she got the incredibly opportunity to dance at the Governor’s Ball, an after party for the Emmys filled with lavish decorations and five star meals at it seeks to impress the many celebrities it attracts.
So how did Tessa quite literally dance herself into such an amazing opportunity? It arose out of Tessa’s incredible performances at LCHS, both in plays put on by the Theater department and as Dance Captain in last year’s musical. Through Tessa’s involvement with the Theater, she became very familiar with Michelle Lynskey (whose son, Anthony Crehan, is also very involved in the theater), who was the director of entertainment for the Governor’s Ball and so impressed with Tessa’s performances that she asked Tessa to join her team of dancers. She was also invited to the dance team by Orlando Alexander, who is now serving the choreographer of this year’s musical and met Tessa in June when they performed Black and White in Paris together, a show they put on as a part of the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Tessa had an amazing time at the performance, particularly excited by the celebrities she got to meet. Not only did she get to talk with astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, she saw Mandy Moore and Travis Wall from “So You Think You Can Dance,” one of her favorite shows.
“Just being in that room was so magical,” Tessa said. “It was so cool to be around all these people that I see on TV, and the fact that people were watching us and putting us on their Snapchat story was unreal. But it was also really cool because the people that I was dancing with were adults who dance for a living, and it was so sweet to be surrounded by people who are doing exactly what I want to do.”
Tessa and the rest of her dance team also performed at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards the week before the televised Emmys, which honored outstanding technical and artistic accomplishments in television, such as lighting, sound, choreography, and producing.
“I really enjoyed the Creative Arts Awards, because it was cool getting to see an intimate crowd of people who you don’t see on TV but are still so important,” Tessa said. “I was also freaking out because I got to dance with the producer of ‘Westwood.’”
Such amazing experiences were well deserved, as Tessa has been dancing since she was 3 years old, not letting LCHS’ cancellation of its dance class get in the way of her passion.
“I am a very hyper person, and most people don’t see it because I dance as a way to release my energy,” Tessa said. “I just enjoy movement and I think it comes easier than words. To be able to put my feelings into a dance is very therapeutic.”
As for her future, Tessa plans to continue with dance. She hopes to go to a college conservatory program, which provides young dancers with four years of intensive dance training and amazing connections. Once she gets out of college, she would love to tour for a year and continue to dance, but she is particularly interested in being a choreographer.
“Choreography has a bit more stability as a career choice, and it has always come very naturally to me. Whenever I listen to song, a part of a dance instantly comes into my head. Eventually, I would love to own my own company or choreograph a broadway show,” Tessa said.
“Who knows? Maybe one day I can actually win my own Emmy,” she jokingly added.