The Studio dancers

From left, Emma Thompson, Carnaeja Waver, Ry’Mylliyuna McKinney and Ja’Niya Spivey practice their routine.

Eight local The Studio Arts & Education dancers are nationals bound. 

Dancers Emma Thompson, Ja’Niya Spivey, Ja’Harmony Kelley, Montasia Jackson, Te’Lissia Stone, Ry’Mylliyuna McKinney, Cerynity Price and Carnaeja Waver are competing in the Applause Talent competition June 27 in North Charleston, South Carolina. 

Dance teacher Kenyatta Simmons said the girls competed for the first time in a district competition in Birmingham in April and won double platinum, judges choice for the most powerful performance and fifth place overall for the junior division.

Simmons said Applause Talent reached her out to in March about competing in district and she had two weeks to assemble a team and make a routine.

“We had two weeks to come together and create a routine but some of these girls were dancing together two or even three years and for some it’s just their first year dancing,” Simmons said.

Simmons chose the eight dancers because of their work ethic.

“These young ladies put forth a lot of effort and the practice is great and they don’t fuss and argue or yell about, ‘Give me a part. Give me a spot.  Give me a position,’” Simmons said. “They just go to it and I appreciate that a lot.”

Simmons said she was surprised and excited when the team won in district and the competition director told her new teams don’t win big their first.

“It’s good,” Simmons said. “It’s a really good feeling.”

Jackson said the group is practicing more to prepare for the competition including dancing at home.

The dancers are in fourth through seventh grade and are competing in the 9-to 11-year-old division. The group is performing a praise dance to “Breaking the Cycle.”

If the team places in the top three June 27, it will compete for best of the best June 30. Simmons said the students will probably compete against 25 to 50 other groups in their category.

“I feel more excited than nervous,” Thompson said.