91 studios
1223 competition dances
Hundreds of dancers
First Nationals

The season starts in August with intensives and choreography. From there the students train for hours every week working on their technique and choreography, tweaking and adjusting, learning and growing. The performance and competitive season starts in January and the team, and parents, experience a whirlwind few months of conventions and competitions. Typically the season ends with recital performances but this year we attended Nationals for the first time. So the costumes stayed packed, the rehearsals continued and the nerves stayed on high.

Kicking off the week was solo competition. Lucas’ solo, “Garden”, has been tweaked and adjusted throughout the season based on judges critique and the vision of his choreographer, the most significant being a costume change. In preparation for Nationals his choreographer gave him one last adjustment, feel and express the emotion and Lucas did just that. The comfort of having performed this piece several times came through and the confidence of knowing this piece allowed him to take it to a new place.

Lucas’ solo, “Garden”, as performed at Hollywood Vibe regional competition in April.

Lucas’ solo placed 13th runner up out of 146 teen soloists! Going into Nationals we didn’t know what to expect but knew it would be very competitive, drawing dedicated and talented studios from across the nation. His placement not only garnered him a huge trophy, and an embarrassing amount of my pride and joy, but gave him the opportunity to perform in the closing show with the other solo finalists in a routine called “Hope” choreographed by Seth Zibalese.

Brian Raymond is so much more than just his solo choreographer. He is a mentor and friend to Lucas and has inspired his dance to new heights. On top of the already intense schedule of competition and convention classes, Lucas rehearsed an additional 6 hours to perform the piece “Hope”. He worked with dancers he’s never met, learned choreography, marking and staging, and built rapport with Seth and the other dancers. It was an amazing opportunity and experience and showed him a small slice of professional dance life.

In between we had time to enjoy the beach, friends, family and celebrate Father’s Day.

All six of Lucas’ group routines were competed at Nationals. “Dior”, which had been a small group hip-hop routine, was entered as a duo/trio due to some members not being able to attend Nationals. “Dior” had competed well all season, winning Brian a Best Choreography award at Monsters, and continued it’s winning streak with a Style High Score for hip hop and a 4th place overall for Senior duo/trio.

By day 3 competition was complete for our studio making it the perfect day to also celebrate a very special birthday. Gabrielle Boyle is not only the Studio Director and Team Director but the heart and care of Creative Dance Center.

And with competition over it was also time to celebrate being at Nationals!
Summer solstice meant we had even more sunshine to enjoy together. And a beautiful sunset. And an even more fun night.

Of the 1223 competition performances a select number of routines are selected to perform again in their DanceAgain showcase for the opportunity to compete for National Dance of the Year. 37 were selected and “Mechanism” was one of the two routines from Creative Dance Center. “Mechanism” choreographed by Brian has been a season highlight for the dancers and judges; a unique, compelling piece the dancers perfectly execute. Exhausted but exhilarated the kids prepared to take the stage one last time.

While “Mechanism” didn’t win the Dance of the Year it did win Overall Teen High Score, the highest scoring routine in the entire teen category.

6 days
6 routines competed, 6 High Firsts, 3 Style High Scores, 1 Style High Score Runner Up
1 Nationals Scholarship
Countless hours of stretching, dancing and sweating
Countless smiles, tears and nerves
Thousands of steps walked by the dance moms and dads shuttling food, water and kids back and forth
Unmeasurable bonding and connection

We are often asked “What’s next?” I don’t know what comes next, if he’ll pursue a career in dance or business or history. But I do know the work ethic, discipline and communication skills he is developing through dance will help him in any career. I do know the friendships, mentorships and connections he has are informing him at a young age of what it means to value someone and how it feels to be valued. I do know that feeling the music move through him and moving an audience is an incredible expression of creativity and power. And I do know how proud I am when I see his resilience to work through expectations, pressure and nerves to get on that stage and perform at his best. And I do know how grateful I am every time he comes off that stage, regardless of how tired he is, how disappointed he might feel, how excited he might be to always give me a hug and a smile.