PLANT CITY Youngsters from a local dance center recently took top honors at a statewide competition.
Dancers from the Dance Carousel competed against dozens of dancers from studios around Florida at the Showstopper contest. Showstopper promotes 50 dance contests a year and calls itself the largest organization of its kind in the world.
Dance Carousel owner Lori Matta was thrilled with her students’ award-winning performances.
“I am proud of each and every one of my students,” Matta said. “I call them my kids. They are amazing, really, since the little girls dance only one and a half hours a week and the big girls only three hours a week. None of them need a trophy to define who they are.”
Winners included: Kendall Gaudens, second place overall for teen performance solo; Jacelyn Shissler, first place overall, junior performance solo; and Amayah Giles, 10th place overall in teen performance solo.
Dancers Faith Brown, Jessica Girod and Vaviel Verner won first place overall in senior performance by a duet or trio, regional top 10 overall, gold trophies and the coveted judge’s award. The Dance Carousel itself received a double platinum award for excellence, four platinum awards and two gold awards.
The stellar performance qualifies the dancers to compete at the Showstopper national finals in either Myrtle Beach, S.C., Anaheim, Calif. or Galveston, Texas this summer, Matta does not know if they will be able to go because of the costs.
Regardless if they go to the finals, the dancers, “have already proven they have talent,” Matta said.
“What is of greater importance is the amount of confidence and focus they have personally gained through their dance experience that will benefit them throughout their lives.”
The Dance Carousel is located at 402 W. Ball St. The studio’s telephone number is (813) 659-9100.