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Competitions across the boards.

It was a year when winners of one competition participated in, and often won awards in, other competitions. In one landmark event, fifteen-year-old Adrienne Canterna won the Teen Miss Dance at the Dance Masters of America nationals just after she had captured the Junior Gold Medal at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Her teacher, Mary Moran, of Lithicum, Maryland, is an example of the increasingly fine instruction available in small studios. Other participants in competitive events were rewarded, not with scholarships and medals, but with offers of employment. The level of technical excellence now apparent in dancers should inspire choreographers to create new works to showcase their special talents.


The American Academy of Ballet's Performance Awards present an opportunity for students to strive for an objective standard without the rivalry that sometimes exists in competitive dance and athletic events. Awards are divided into twelve levels and specific choreography to be accomplished with suggested ages for each of the levels. Students select their own variations from the standards and set their goals. Participants who receive silver medals (with distinction) in levels four through twelve qualify for the national competition held each October in New York City. Students who choose to complete at the national level are eligible for scholarships and other prizes.

The Performance Awards allow parents to see the levels of progression through the training and allow students a rare opportunity to dance either solo or in pairs. The awards are meant to reinforce the feeling of accomplishment and to be a celebration of success that is positive and healthy in the development of young dancers.


American Dance Awards national championships were held in Washington, D.C., in July. Honors went to Jessica Lynch of Tami's Dance Connection in Leominster, Massachusetts, as the Christina Richmond Entertainer of the Year. Titles are awarded to winning competitors in three classes: Junior, Teen, and Dancer. Jennifer Russell, from Robin Dawn's Academy of Performing Arts in Florida, is Junior Dancer of the Year, and Adam Barber, of Bohaty Studio of Dance, is Junior Male Dancer of the Year. Nicole Ports, from Dance Academy, and Manuel Herrera, from Fran Sullivan's School of Dance, are Teen Dancers of the Year; and Ashley Yeater, Larraine Susa's Dance Unlimited, and Clyde Alves, Performing Dance Arts, are Dancers of the Year.

The remainder of the American Dance Awards are given to the performing groups or to the producing studios. This year's Bill Como Award, presented by Barbara Paige Kaplan, was shared by Gloria Jean's Studio in North Haven, Connecticut, and Performing Dance Arts of Toronto, Ontario, as winners of the national Dance-Offs for ages 13 and over and 12 and under. A large group production number from Performing Dance Arts also received the Gold Family Award of Excellence.

Addressing the need to encourage choreographers, Rhee Gold, director of American Dance Awards, presented the 1998 Diamond Award for Choreography in memory of Sherry Gold, to Mark Simpson from Dance Arts Centre in Bristol, Connecticut, for his work titled 58,214. America's Young Choreographer of the Year is Erica Torrey from Diane Kelley Dance Studio in West Boylston, Massachusetts, for her Birimbau.


From a field of forty-four women and four men, the title holders were chosen in Orlando, Florida, in early July 1998 to represent Dance Olympus for the coming year. Dancers compete with interviews, a jazz combination class, and solo talent presentations. Male and female dancers of the year receive $1,000 cash scholarships. Female Dancer of the Year is Jeannine Trinka, a pupil of Darlene Ceglia in Buffalo, New York. Male Dancer of the Year is Kenny Noth, from White Oak Dance Academy in Blue Springs and Warrensburg, Missouri.

More than 2,000 dancers and their teachers attended the DanceAmerica national championship competion and workshop held in Orlando, Florida, according to national director Richard DiSarno. More than 112 national championship titles were given out there, including high-scoring solos, groups, and special awards.


DEA is a professional organization for dance teachers that holds an annual general membership meeting. During this convention they also hold competitive dance events. This year there were three national meetings: in Las Vegas and New York during July and in Orlando, Florida, in August. Results of the Orlando national were not yet available at press time. Platinum and President's Cup winners are awards made for production numbers and their creators. Titles are for male and female dancers in categories of Small Fry, Junior, Pre-Teen, Teen, Young Senior, and Senior. As the number of participants in these competitions increases, the categories become more numerous and tightly focused on specific age groups. Mr. Senior Dance New York was Antwaan Taylor.


Dance Masters of America's annual convention was held at New York City's Marriott Marquis, July 9-16. During that gathering a week of master classes was held along with national competition finals. National title winners were awarded scholarships: Michele Micholas, teacher Dawn Laviola Schaub of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, is 1999 Miss Dance of America; and Tony Borgouris, teacher Charlotte Klein of Worcester, Massachusetts, is Mr. Dance of America. Teen Mr. Dance is Blake McGrath of Mississauga, Ontario. Sisters Adrienne Canterna and Ashley Canterna, students of Mary Moran, Lithicum, Maryland, won the Teen Miss Dance and Junior Miss Dance titles, respectively. Titles for Petite and Master Dance were also awarded.

A series of awards was also presented for winning solo, duo/trio, group, small line, and large line performances. The annual Gold Family Award and David De Marie Award for Choreography continue to reward outstanding choreographers.

Dance Masters of America held similar national events in Las Vegas and Orlando.


New York City Dance Alliance held its national competition finals at New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel with a week of classes taught by master teachers, June 30-July 6. Awards were presented at a closing-night gala to NYCDA National Junior Female Outstanding Dancer Lauren Di Blasi from Dance Explosion, Glen Burnie, Maryland, and to Junior Male Outstanding Dancer Derek Hough from Center Stage, Salt Lake City, Utah. Senior Outstanding Dancer awards went to Sarah Jayne Jensen from United Dance Artists, Salt Lake City, and Clifton Brown from Take Five Dance Academy. Senior Critics' Choice Award was given to a group from In the Spotlight of Waldwick, New Jersey, for its performance of The Bird is the Word. The Junior Critics' Choice Award went to a group dancing Saved from Dance Explosion in Glen Burnie, Maryland, director Colleen Parker, choreographed by Matthew Clark.

The award evening was punctuated by guest artists performing excerpts from Broadway shows such as Smokey Joe's Cafe and the forthcoming Footloose.'


Showstopper competition holds national finals at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Disneyland in California. Events in Myrtle Beach included a television production of the winners, hosted by Ben Vereen. Nominated for a local Emmy award in previous years, this year's show will run in syndication from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. The program showcases the Showstopper competition's winning groups, and duet/trios. It also presents Lindsey Lupien, Canadian Dance Co., Mississauga, Ontario, as Top Junior Soloist and Andy Pellick, from Marie Lynn Superstar Dance of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, as Top Senior Soloist. Always attended by casting agents and choreographers, the Disneyland West Coast finals awarded honors to individuals and groups from five different studios. Top Junior Soloist Tiler Peck is from Studio C in Downey, California, and Top Senior Soloist Yasmina Chin is from West Coast School of the Arts, Cypress, California.


Starpower's 1998 national championships were held in Ocean City, Maryland; Orlando, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the competition saw more than 6,000 performances at the four championship events. At the Ocean City event, winners of cash scholarships were Miss Starpower, Angela Barrette, and Mr. Starpower, Reed Kelly, from the Larkin Dance Studios. In Orlando, winners were Miss Starpower, Andrea Young from Centre Stage School and Mr. Starpower, Ryan Jackson from David Sanders Dance. In Las Vegas, winners were Miss Starpower, Kristin Vella, from Studio C and Mr. Starpower, Dean Shermet, from Encore Studio. In Dallas, winners were Miss Starpower, Ashley Eichbauer, and Mr. Starpower, Steven Visneau. Junior title holders were also awarded scholarships in each category. Title competitions are sponsored by Leo's Dancewear.

Also sponsored by Leo's is a new program called Power Pak. A group of young performers was selected from forty regional competitions to perform at each of the national finals' Battle of the Stars competition. Prominent choreographer Barry Lather devised an opening number for the dancers, who also performed an original closing production number. Adopting a new line of Power Pak clothing, the competition also awarded the touring company matching outfits.


StarQuest International Performing Arts Competition held finals in Seaport, Connecticut, and in Orlando, Florida. Many awards were made for Junior and Senior levels of performance. In addition, title winners for Mr. and Miss Starquest and Jr. Mr. and Miss Starquest were made. Both Jr. Mr. and Mr. Starquest came from the Dance Artistry studio: "Jr." is Tony Pisant; "Mr." is Jonathan Warren. Jr. Miss Starquest is Kaylin Fogarty from Warwick Dance Academy, and Miss Starquest is Lori Sangnella from The Dance Connection.

Besides their awards, competitors here can be seen in the award-winning Starquest-produced video.


Tremaine, named after founding jazz dancer Joe Tremaine, this year held national finals competition in Orlando, Florida in July, at the same time as Dance Experience Competitions in New York, Las Vegas, and Dallas. Cash awards are made to all winning categories. Dancers of the Year for 1998 are in categories of Junior Female and Male Dancers, Teen Male and Female Dancers, Senior Female and Male Dancers. Senior Female Dancer of the Year is Katy Tare from Pro Dance @ Showtime, a student of Cathy Gillaspie-Hillyer and Celeste Farina of Longwood, Florida. Senior Male Dancer of the Year is Jason Beitel from the Forest Hills Dance Academy, taught by Teddi Burgess of Rockford, Illinois.


Nineteen ninety-eight was Jackson, Mississippi's, year in the four-year rotation of international ballet competitions, and it was a winning year for Americans. Rasta Thomas won the Senior Men's gold medal, while Adrienne Canterna, who danced as his partner in Rounds I and II, won the Junior gold medal, and Melissa Wishinski won the Junior women's bronze. Maria Bystrova was awarded the William Como Dance Magazine scholarship. Medals carry not only honors but also cash awards ranging from $500 to $10,000.'

Beyond the prestige and publicity of winning, participants make friends and forge professional associations during the competition. They are also seen by directors of the world's leading ballet companies. This provides benefits far beyond the competition. For example, though young Raul Miguel Salamanca did not earn a medal at Jackson, he was offered, and accepted, a contract as a full-fledged company member of Michael Uthoff's Ballet Arizona. Thomas and Canterna were contracted to perform as guests at the Vail Bolshoi Ballet Summer Festival in Colorado.
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Title Annotation:results of 1998 ballet and contemporary dance competitions for young performers
Author:Patrick, K.C.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1998
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