Thirty-four of Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy’s (TADA) students, six dance teachers and dozens of family members attended the New York City Dance Alliance Convention in Baltimore, MD from January 29 through 31. Dancers took classes from professional teachers from across the country during the day and competed their dance pieces at night. TADA’s students competed in fifteen numbers, performing several styles of dance including classical ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary.
“I could not be prouder of the way our dancers represented themselves and TADA. We competed fifteen different pieces in styles ranging from hip hop to classical ballet and they rose to the challenge every single time. The dancers performed after taking seven hours of dance class and they never complained,” said Aimee String Director, Instructor at TADA. “The best part of the competition for me was seeing the love and support between our dancers. It’s a very unique and amazing thing to see the way our dancers look out for each other and cheer each other on. They are each other’s biggest fans. It honestly takes a village to take thirty-three dancers and five staff members to a convention/competition of this level.”
TADA is the dance school affiliated with Diamond Dance Company, the longest performing company in Milford, DE. The company named itself in 2013 in honor of Delaware dance legend, the late Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith who was a professional ballerina in Russia and a beloved dance teacher in Delaware for decades. With a focus on Classical Russian Ballet with the addition of Jazz, Modern and Creative Movement, TADA offers a well rounded foundation of dance principles starting with students as young as two years old.
It was an successful weekend at the New York City Dance Alliance Convention as the studio brought home a multitude of awards. Top earning awards included “Thomas” with a Platinum Award, 8th Place Junior High Score Soloist, and Personality Award. “Awake My Soul”, a contemporary piece choreographed by Tori Brown earned a High Gold Award, Studio Standout Award and an Outstanding Staging Award. “Enti Jamileh”, a ballet en pointe piece choreographed by Aimee Voshell String earned a High Gold Award and Outstanding Interpretation Award.
“Giselle”, a classical ballet piece choreographed by Bliss Soucek earned a Gold Award and Outstanding Staging Award. “Do Your Thing”, a tap number choreographed by Bliss Soucek won a Gold Award and Outstanding Energy Award. “Clowning Around”, a jazz number choreographed by Misty Yencer won a Gold Award and Outstanding Concept Award. “Grease” a musical theater tap number choreographed by Misty Yencer earned a Gold Award, Outstanding Stage Presence Award, and Outstanding Interpretation Award. “Paper Doll”, a lyrical piece choreographed by Aimee String earned a Gold Award and Outstanding Staging Award. “Sunday Candy”, a jazz number choreographed by Tori Brown earned a Gold Award, 2nd Place Junior High Score Duo/Trio, and Outstanding Interpretation Award. “Lips are Movin’”, a tap piece choreographed by Bliss Soucek earned a Gold Award and Outstanding Showmanship Award. “Ease on Down the Road”, a jazz number choreographed by Victoria Voshell earned a Gold Award and Outstanding Showmanship Award. “Hey Mickey”, a tap number choreographed by Bliss Soucek earned a Gold Award, Outstanding Energy Award and Outstanding Showmanship Award. “Summer” a neoclassical ballet number choreographed by Misty Yencer won a Gold Award and Outstanding Concept Award. “Cotton Eye Joe”, a jazz piece choreographed by Aimee Voshell String earned a Gold Award, Outstanding Smile Award and Outstanding Energy Award. Rounding out the dance awards was “Spring”, a ballet piece choreographed by Aimee Misty Yencer, and Bliss Soucek earning a High Silver Award and Outstanding Smile Award.
“Hands down the best part of the competition is seeing how much the dancers have grown from the moment we start rehearsing until the time they leave the stage,” said TADA Instructor Misty Yencer. “To see it all wrapped up in that final moment, we can see the pride, excitement, confidence and love for what they do. It is awesome.”
One of the most exciting moments of the two evenings was when TADA was announced the winner of the Backstage Good Sport Award, a favorite among all the dance studios. TADA was also selected as 1 of 10 Studio Standout Award recipients for “Awake My Soul” out of 26 participating studios. Junior Scholarship Finalists were Juliana Warnock and Thomas Vasquez. The Future Star Scholarship Award was given to Thomas Vasquez.
“The convention and competition brings together the best of the best. We competed against studios that have been around for decades and have four hundred plus students at their disposal,” said String. “To see our dancers being singled out over and over again to receive special recognition both in class and competition is truly exciting. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”