On January 9 through 11, 18 dancers and five instructors from the Tatiana-Akinfieva Dance Academy danced their way to high honors at the New York City Dance Alliance competition and Convention in Baltimore, MD. Dancers and instructors took two full days of dance classes from world class instructors from across the nation. The dancers who range in age from 6-12 danced for a minimum of 8 hours each day. Both Dancers and staff had the opportunity to work with some of the nation’s leading choreographers and instructors. They were instructed in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip hop and even took advantage of extra class time during the lunch hour.
TADA was recognized for their in-class efforts with several award. Emma Moorman (11) and Olivia Caraballo (10), both of Milford were chosen as Studio Showcase Dancers. Caraballo along with Thomas Vasquez (10) of Dover were named as Mini Scholarship Finalists with Vasquez going on to win a Future Star Scholarship. Juliana Warnock (11) was named a Junior Scholarship Finalist.
In addition to the intense instructional rigors of the weekend, TADA also made the decision to enter nine entries in the competition. “We are not a ‘competition studio’. We train our kids for classical ballet productions and for a future in professional dance careers however, we saw this as an opportunity for us to really push our kids and to put them up against some of the best dance studios in the region”, said Misty Yencer, TADA Instructor. With all eighteen dancers competing in at least one piece, TADA students easily rose to the challenge and represented Delaware well, bringing home numerous prestigious awards.
“It was inspiring to see how well our girls did and how they were recognized by some of the best in the industry over and over again”, stated Aimee String, TADA Director, “We took a piece called Crazy In Love that was performed by our 7 year olds. They competed against girls who were nearly twice their age and still brought home a High Silver and Outstanding Energy Award. It still brings tears to my eyes. I could not be prouder!”
“I’m extremely proud of how hard the dancers worked to get here. This is the result of endless hours of hard work and dedication on the part of both the dancers and instructors”, said Carie DeBaca, Business Manager, “While most young people spent their holiday vacation visiting friends and relaxing, our dancers were in the studio putting blood, sweat and tears into rehearsing for this weekend. The work ethic is just incredible.”
Dancers included Jessica Beenick (11), Olivia Caraballo (10), Alayna DeBaca (10), Logyn DeBaca (8), MaKenzie Dee (11), Emily Dittman (11), Carmella Gannon (7), Jillian Kerr (12), Ariana Knowles (12), Hailey Mayle (8), Kate Meszaros (8), Emma Moorman (11), Aidan Robbins (11), Brynn String (7), Aubrey Trivits (7), Thomas Vasquez (10), Juliana Warnock (11) & Madilynn Yencer (6). Participating TADA Staff included Victoria Brown-O’Brien, Carie DeBaca, Bliss Soucek, Aimee String and Misty Yencer.
Full List of Awards:
Can’t Remember to Forget You (performed by Beenick, A. DeBaca, Dee, Dittman, Kerr, Moorman, Robbins & Warnock): High Silver Award, Outstanding Showmanship Award
The Cello Song (performed by Kerr): Gold Award Outstanding Costume Award
Concrete Angel (performed by Warnock): Gold Award, Stage Presence Award
Crazy in Love (performed by L. DeBaca, Gannon, Mayle, Meszaros, String, Trivits & Yencer): High Silver Award, Outstanding Energy Award
Ghost (performed by Moorman): High Silver Award, Stage Presence Award
Save Me (performed by Caraballo, Kerr, Knowles, Moorman, Robbins & Warnock): Gold Award, Outstanding Showmanship Award
Secret Garden (performed by Knowles): High Gold Award, Beautiful Potential Award, and Top 10 Junior Soloist
Uptown (performed by Caraballo, A. DeBaca, Vasquez): Gold Award, Outstanding Showmanship Award
Winter (performed by Dee): High Silver Award, Showmanship Award