Bladen dancer heads to Oxford

Staff report

June 7, 2014

ELIZABETHTOWN — For one Bladen County dancer, family and dance are two important elements in her life.

Shea-Ra Nici said that being accepted into the Oxford Yale drama summer program is “very important” to her “and also very exciting at the same time.” She will leave for Oxford Yale this month.

Nici has been acting, dancing and singing since the age of 8. She has spent the better part of her life training, performing and growing as an artist.

“I continued my training in New York City at a Broadway theatre school. My last year there, my mother’s illness took a turn for the worse. At that time she was living in her home state of North Carolina and I came immediately from New York City to take care of her. She passed away 8 months after I arrived in April 2001,” said Nici.

She added that all took place more than 13 years ago. Prior to that, it was her plan to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England, but that dream was put on hold temporarily.

“My mother had a home that she recently built that was not yet paid for a few years before she passed. I stayed to do my best in this unknown territory to honor what she left behind, to the best of my abilities,” said Nici.

She said that 13-year period was touched with sadness, as each year there was death in the family. Each death was of someone in the family that Nici said were parental figures to her. They included aunts, uncles, her grandmother and, in 2013, her father.

“I realized that I stayed to honor them in my own way. I’m sure they are very grateful for what I’ve tried to accomplish and proud of what I have done. I’m also certain that they are now wanting me to honor myself,” said Nici. “My audition into RADA was nothing short of that chance opening to continue and completely lay a solid foundation for my life — to be accepted into this unique program is the opportunity to do just that.”

Nici adds that she is certain many have questioned her reasons for staying in North Carolina so long.

“I’m sure many may ask why I didn’t just leave North Carolina. I was raised to honor family and to do what you can to build onto what they have left behind. This has been my deepest prayer and I’ve done my best here in North Carolina to do so by building a dance and fitness career while also handling family properties and such,” said Nici. “Now it’s time for me to go where the arts thrives and test my skills and share my gift so I can truly honor my family with my success.”