First State Dance Academy Attends YAGP


by Terry Rogers

Recently, dancers from First State Dance Academy attending the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) Semi-Finals in Philadelphia were provided the opportunity to compete solos in the ballet and contemporary parts of the competition.  Only a select group of strong ballet dancers from FSDA competed at the intense event. Parker Reb, who is only 11, placed in the top 12 for his age group at the event while Blayke Cawby, 14, auditioned and was accepted to the Rock School for Dance Education.

“We are very proud of how well our dancers did,” Michele Xiques, Director of First State Dance Academy, said. “Even though they did not score high enough to attend the finals in New York, but they did exceptionally well.” 

YAGP is the world’s largest global network of dance, fulfilling its mission through scholarships, master classes, education and outreach as well as performance and films. Their mission is to support and develop dancers of all economic, ethnic and geographic backgrounds who are between the ages of 9 and 19. Over 10,000 dance students are reached annually through workshops, scholarship auditions, master classes and audition classes which are held in 25 states and eight international locations.

“It takes a lot of courage for these dancers to get up on stage in front of all those people and perform,” Xiques said. “They scored very well and it is always exciting to see the dancers blossom on the stage.”

The next competition that the students are preparing for is the Jump Competition and Convention in April. Ms. Xiques said that her teachers, Kaitlyn Conboy and Owen Lawson, suggested the competition. “We are more of a performance studio, not really a competition studio,” she said. “ Our experienced staff prepares dancers for a possible professional career in dance and/or potential college scholarships through our intense training.  Our record has proven many successes for our students.”

The Jump Competition and Convention is a weekend-long event with competitions and master’s classes taught by well-known artists. Ms. Xiques is creating two ballet pieces while her directors are working on jazz, contemporary and tap pieces for the dancers who auditioned for the competition team.

Delaware Dance Alliance, the performance part of the studio, began shortly after Diamond Dance company separated from the academy. At the time, it was owned by Maria Fry, who co-founded Diamond Dance Company, and was known as A Dance Class. Ms. Xiques, who studied under the lateTatiana Akinfieva, who she calls her mentor, purchased the dance studio from Ms. Fry and renamed it First State Dance Academy.

“I am excited to see how our dancers do at this next competition,” Ms. Xiques said. “This is a new competition for our studio.”


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