MARSHALL - All those hours in the studio always pay off for the Southwest School of Dance students.
The SWSD took home 17 first-place awards and seven second-place awards out of the 25 dances it sent to regional competition in Omaha, Neb., earlier this month.
Breanna Ahmann, Rebekah Criquet-Danielson, Abbie Doom, Rebecca Sammons and Macey Steen all qualified for Senior Dancer of the Year, while Allie Bottelberghe, Peyton Bruce and Elizabeth Louwagie qualified for Junior Dancer of the Year.
Photos courtesy of Rashell Thordson
Left: Southwest School of Dance students Sidney Matthys, Emma Thordson, and Katie Boerboom perform Adagio Meditation during regional competition in Omaha, Neb. earlier this month.
Steen, a senior at Marshall High School, did a pointe dance for her solo Nocturne in C Minor. She soon learned that she did quite well to start out her last season with SWSD.
"We were sitting at awards and I knew we were doing the high score dances," Steen said. "And they said my solo and my name and everybody started cheering really loud."
It didn't dawn on Steen right away that she had earned overall high score for the entire competition.
"I was just shocked," Steen said.
And it's not every day that a dancer takes it all with the style of dance Steen did for competition, said SWSD director Charlotte Wendel.
"Nobody gets overall high score on pointe," Wendel said.
Steen said she spends about 12 hours a week at the dance studio for both competition practice and "Nutcracker" rehearsals.
"It doesn't feel like it should be my last year," Steen said. She has been in dance for seven years.
Louwagie and Bottelberghe found themselves against each other in the solo portion of Junior Dancer of the Year.
"It was weird, I didn't know I got moved," Bottelberghe said. Bottelberghe was moved from modern to open, the category Louwagie was in.
Louwagie agreed it was strange to go up against Bottelberghe for the Junior Dancer of the Year, but they got the same result. Bottelberghe said her solo and Louwagie's solo were also choreographed at the same time.
"They tied," Wendel said.
Louwagie's solo was titled Somebody's Missing.
"I was Raggedy Ann and I was missing Raggedy Andy," Louwagie said.
"She had to look absolutely dejected," Wendel said. "Her mother painted tears on her eyes." Toward the end of the dance, she had to be the happiest person in the world, Wendel said.
Bottelberghe's solo was to "The Girl."
It was Louwagie's first year in qualifying for Junior Dancer of the Year.
"I'm excited," Louwagie said.
Wendel said that competition doesn't always go smoothly. There was still a large prop on stage when one of the SWSD trios had to go on.
"They learn to deal with problems," Wendel said.
Bottelberghe said that happened during one of the dances she was in. As the music tape was played, it was being erased. The music finished before the dancers did.
"We were halfway through the dance," Bottelberghe said.
"If there's a malfunction, they (judges) let you do it over, but not always," Wendel said.
Dancers said Country Boy, one of the competition pieces that features John Denver's song, was a fun dance to do. Wendel described it as "innovative ballet."
"It's really energetic," Emma Matthys said about Country Boy.
First place winners: Love Them So, Paradise Circus, Wonderful World, Country Boy, Eleanor Rigby, Layla, Adagio Meditation, Someone's Missing, Grease, In the Garden, Concerto in F, Rose Maiden, Moving Forward, With This Love, My Own True Love, Nocturne in C, Snakes and Lions
High score solo: 3rd runner up - Elizabeth Louwagie for Someone's Missing
High score line: 2nd runner up - Wonderful Life
High score line: 1st runner up: Country Boy
High score solo: Macey Steen for Nocturne in C
High score solo: 1st runner up: Rebekah Criquet-Danielson for My Own True Love
High score solo: 3rd runner up: Rebecca Sammons for Layla
High score duo-trio: With This Love (Breanna Ahmann, Rebecca Sammons and Macey Steen)
High score small group: 1st runner up - Paradise Circus
Overall high score for entire competition
With This Love (1st runner up)
Rebekah Criquet-Danielson (2nd runner up)
Best costume: Country Boy (two years in a row)
Best technical: Paradise Circus
Best emotional: Wonderful Life
Best choreography: Someone's Missing