City: Q&A Cassia Hinchman

John Ross, Columbus Alive

Deemed too tall to perform in the roles of her dreams, dancer Cassia Hinchman decided to become her own boss by starting Seven Dance Company, a local troupe that began performing around town last year.

I was three when I started, so I've been dancing for 23 years. My parents put me into a little combo ballet class, and I liked it. I actually switched to gymnastics for a while, and then decided I wanted to go back. I just never stopped.

For me, dancing was physical, which I enjoyed, and then also mentally stimulating. It was always learning new combinations. It was finding your body placement. I played softball for a while, and I loved being athletic. But it just wasn't as challenging to me as a ballet class.

I graduated from Point Park University in 2008. It's a dance college. I kind of auditioned for some places and was running into the problem of being too tall.

My dream was to dance on a cruise ship. The cut-off was 5'10", I think. I'm 6'1", so that was horrible. Everyone at school said, "You just need to go be a Rockette, because you have really long legs." I was too tall for that.

The best advice I've ever received is that if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

I started dancing with a small company in Plain City. It just wasn't what I wanted. I met a girl there who had graduated from a college in Michigan. I said, "I think I want to do my own thing. I think I could do a better job." She supported me. We held auditions and got some girls.

Seven Dance Company came together last January. We are contemporary ballet-based. My favorite style is probably ballet. It's just very structured. Seven's first show last year was in June at the McConnell Arts Center. We have five company dancers, two apprentices and one trainee.

Something people might not know about me is that I was home-schooled through high school. I went to kindergarten, and that was it.

Three things I would want with me on a desert island are ChapStick, my iPod, fully charged, and a backup iPod.

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Age: 26

Day job: Substitute teacher, Columbus City Schools

Hometown: Worthington

Last Words

Last thing you ate: Saltine crackers

Last thing you drank: Chocolate milk

Last TV show you watched: CNN morning news

Last movie you saw: "Napoleon Dynamite"

Last place you traveled: Cincinnati