by Terry Rogers
Dancers from First State Dance participated in the JUMP Convention from April 20 through 22, competing as soloists or groups while also attending master classes offered by dance experts from around the world. Students from the dance company entered Contemporary, Ballet, Tap and Jazz competitions. Owen Lawson, 19, placed in the top 10 of the senior competition where he scored high enough to earn a trip to Orlando, Florida.
“The convention was very fast-paced,” Lawson said. “There were a ton of people everywhere. But, I liked how everyone was nice, it was almost like I had a giant family. The other dancers were very kind. I wanted to compete there because, for one, it was close to home and it is my last year.” In addition to Lawson’s high ranking, other dancers from the studio received High Silver and High gold awards.
JUMP is the largest dance convention in the world, touring 26 cities in the United States and five different countries. The convention includes top-rated workshops and a first-class competition. The competition is high-energy, fresh and innovative and offers dancers an inspiring educational opportunity.
JUMP was the first dance convention to bring a full video crew to each city. They also bring large projection and plasma televisions that provide students with a better view of instructors who are leading workshops. Awards given at the convention are not typical plaques and trophies. Instead, awardees receive fun items like license plate trophies, dog tags and platinum records.
Lawson enjoys dance because it allows him to let his guard down and show a vulnerable side of himself. He said he was thrilled when it was announced he had won the trip to Orlando.
“I was excited and shocked,” Lawson said. “I was not really looking to get anything out of this as it was more for fun, so when I got Top Ten and VIP, I was overly thrilled. I was a runner up and there is nothing wrong with that because everyone has something to work on. I’m looking forward to Orlando as a great opportunity to better myself.” Lawson will be traveling to Orlando July 13 through 19.
Michele Xiques who leads First State Dance was excited that the dancers did so well at the competition.
“There was lots of rehearsal, training, talent and confidence among our dancers,” Xiques said. “I am not sure how many dancers there were in the competition, but the convention pulls from the entire northeast region of the country. Owen’s accomplishment is a testament to his talent. Not only does it showcase his technical ability and is a representation of Owen, but it also represents First State Dance Academy.”