by Terry Rogers
During the weekend of January 12 through 13, dancer from the Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA) attended the Jump Dance Convention and Competition in Washington, DC. In addition to the 44 dancers, ranging in age from 7 to 15, and 5 teachers, Director Aimee String said that there was a large cheering section of parents, grandparents and siblings at the competition.
“Of the more than 16 pieces, 43 of the dancers competed,” Ms. String said. “We took a wide variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and lyrical. As a result, we earned 3 High Gold Awards and 13 Gold Awards. A contemporary piece called ‘You Are a Memory,’ choreographed by Tori Brown, received a Best in Studio Award and a piece called ‘Be Our Guest,’ choreographed by Bliss Soucek, Misty Yencer and myself received the prestigious Best of Jump Award. This was a ballet production piece and included 43 of our dancers on the stage.”
TADA students began auditioning for the competition team in August, Ms. Yencer said. The dancers attended a week-long boot camp where they learned the 16 competition pieces. Over the next five months, they attended many rehearsals, including a “Weekend Lock-In” Rehearsal right before the competition. The grueling rehearsals required commitment and discipline with dancers rehearsing for over 22 hours in one weekend, but Ms. Yencer said the hard work was all worth it at the competition.
In addition to competing against some of the best studios in the region. Dancers and teachers were able to attend classes taught by world class teachers. Some of the instructors at the competition included Wade Robson, Katy Spreadbury and Nick Lazzarini among others. TADA dancers received instruction in tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, electric groove, ballroom and musical theater during the jam-packed, three-day convention.
“During classes, Jump teachers select individual students for excellence in technique and style,” Ms. Yencer said. “Out of the thousands of dancers in attendance at the convention, numerous TADA students were selected for scholarships.” Students who received ballet scholarships included Rylie Calvello, Jillian Kerr, Zoe Lasher and Aidan Robbins. Carmella Gannon received a scholarship for musical theater while Karsyn Bradley received TADA’s Studio Jump Award, a full scholarship to a future Jump competition.
Ms. Yencer said that the competition was a wonderful experience not only for the dancers, but for the teachers and families of the dancers as well.
“The TADA staff was brought to tears over and over again by what we saw our girls putting on the stage,” Ms. Yencer said. “They danced with their whole hearts and, as a dance teacher, you just can’t ask for more. We learned a lot and made memories that will last a lifetime. I could not be prouder of the way our dancers represented themselves, TADA and the town of Milford.”
Located at 18 SW Front Street in Milford, DE, Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy was born from the longest performing company in Milford, Diamond Dance Company. The studio renamed 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. This year, TADA will showcase two shows including Beauty and the Beast and The Nutcracker. For more information on TADA, families are encouraged to visit http://tada-ballet.com.
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