Island Dance team wows the judges at competition | KUDOS

Melissa Smith wins big at a recent dance competition representing the Island Dance Competition Team. - Photo courtesy of Island Dance
Melissa Smith wins big at a recent dance competition representing the Island Dance Competition Team.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Island Dance

The Competition Dancers of Island Dance made Whidbey Island proud at the first Northwest Regional event hosted by Rainbow Dance at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien on Friday, Jan. 27.

“Starz of Tomorrow” division dancers, age 8 and younger, included Kendall Marshall, 7, performing the jazz solo “Cool Jerk” choreographed by veteran competition professional Susan Vanderwood. The dance received a platinum-level trophy award (award levels are determined by three or four judges on technique, performance, musicality and choreography) and took a third-place medal, Overall High Point award, of all the division’s solos in every style. Kendall also received a huge, lavender teddy bear (who talks and lights up) by being designated the Northwest Region’s Rainbow Mascot.

Next up was the “Starz of Tomorrow” jazz trio “Surfin’ Safari,” choreographed by team director Jamee Pitts and danced by Morgan Vandisson, 8, one of the newest young competition team members; Taylor Pitts, 6, a third-generation dancer from the family of studio co-owner Charlene Brown; and Kendall. This group upped the ante and earned a double platinum trophy award and took the first-place double trophy Overall High Point of all duos and trios competing in “Starz of Tomorrow.”

Island Dance boasted two experienced dancers in the “Rizing Starz” division. Ariana Abrahams, 15, returns this year after numerous years living, acting, dancing and competing in Alaska. Ariana brought her performance skills to the stage in a tap solo, “Let’s Get Loud,” choreographed by Elijah Ferguson and tapped away for a platinum-level trophy her first time out.

Melissa Smith, 14, performed two solos at the event, one lyrical titled “Collide,” choreographed for her first time by Melissa, and “El Pendulo” in the open category (numerous dance styles combined), choreographed by Jamee Pitts.

Both dances earned the highest award level of double platinum and Melissa bested last year’s fifth place by taking the second-place medal for “El Pendulo” and, for “Collide,” a Dancer of the Year qualification award (a sparkly sweatshirt), one of only five awarded, which included dancers in the higher division, as well. Melissa is now eligible to compete for “Dancer of the Year” at nationals in the summer.


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