For a self-proclaimed “shy gal,” the idea of a spotlight might seem overbearing. But Abigail Panter, a recent graduate from Heritage Academy, views the stage as her home.

As a three-year member of the school’s dance company, Panter uses movement to express herself, without relying on words.

“I’m introverted and not great at speaking interpersonally,” she said. “But through the things I do like dance and art, I can communicate to people; and I hope people see what I am trying to project.”

Dance is a form of communication in which Panter can feel confident and comfortable – and suddenly the spotlight becomes her best friend.

On May 18, Panter took center stage at the school’s spring dance showcase, Wanderlust.

She also performed a solo in last winter’s production at Heritage, and another this spring with the performance of “Sailboat.”

Heritage English teacher John Hill described Panter as humble and ambitious.

“When you see Abigail dance, you are not just seeing a different part of her,” Hill said. “You are seeing the essence of her.”

When she’s not dancing, Panter’s expression is seen through her painting and writing.

This August, Panter will attend the University of Arizona to study interior design.

Whether in the spotlight or not, Panter said anyone can be a shining light, no center stage – or spotlight – needed.