Penny started dancing at the age of two; donned in adorable little tutus, jumping alongside friends, entertaining the moms and oblivious to what dance even was. Dance continued off and on over the years, complimented and interrupted by gymnastics, basketball and tennis. As she approached her 7th grade year I asked her to pick one activity to truly dedicate herself to so she could build discipline and see growth. She chose dance. She auditioned and was selected to join the Connect team, a program designed for new competitive dancers. She was placed into two routines, one contemporary and one hip hop, with the same group of girls, all competing for the first time. It has been remarkable to see how they’ve grown and what they achieved as a team.

Nerves were high at the first competition of the season. They rehearsed, paced, chit chatted as they awaited their time to take the stage. You could see their nerves play out and settle as they competed their first then second routine. Nerves were replaced with joy and celebration as both routines placed Platinum, the highest category, and won first and second place overall.

At Breakout the girls had a call time of 6am, in Baltimore. They hit the stage at 8am with their high-energy hip hop number, DNA, which noticeably changed the pace and energy in the auditorium. Their contemporary routine, Running, stole the show winning the Judge’s Award for Total Texture and overall Breakout Award for best routine in all categories and ages. 

The last competition of the season was Fly, the one competition where all the teams from our studio compete. Having the entire studio there to cheer and support these beginner dancers was incredible. Once again Running and DNA took home high scores and high placements overall in their category.

What a journey this past year has been for this group of girls experiencing their first season of competitive dance. Not only did they crush every competition and take home top awards, they learned and grew as a team. And for my girl, seeing her love and passion for dance grow, her sheer determination to be better each day, the work ethic, discipline and positive attitude she brings to every class and the support, kindness and friendship she extends to every student at the studio makes me beyond proud, moreso than anything I might ever see on stage.