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Whidbey dancers win big at regionals

“Lift Off,” a jazz dance choreographed by Andrea Burr, is performed by Weslee Doucette, Grace Rookstool (front), Abigail Rookstool, Melissa Smith (back) and Cassie Neil (not pictured). - Photo courtesy of Island Dance
“Lift Off,” a jazz dance choreographed by Andrea Burr, is performed by Weslee Doucette, Grace Rookstool (front), Abigail Rookstool, Melissa Smith (back) and Cassie Neil (not pictured).
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Island Dance

The talented team at Island Dance continues to shine, and dancers brought home six trophies from the Northwest Regional competition held by Co. Dance at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle.

The showcase, held April 9-11, simmered with excitement as some of the dance industry’s most famous dancers and choreographers came together from across the country to share their expertise with young aspiring dancers.

Among the stars of music videos, movies and Broadway who performed and taught classes were Nick Florez (who has danced with Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyoncé) and Lauren Gottlieb (of “So You Think Can Dance” and a tour dancer with Mariah Carey).

For three full days, the members of the Island Dance Competition Team — Campbelle Antich, Jess Barker, Grace Colby, Weslee Doucette, Sylvia Hurlburt, Cassie Neil, Abigail Rookstool, Grace Rookstool, Melissa Smith and Zane Vanderwood — danced. And danced. And then danced some more.

In addition to bringing home six trophies — five Gold and one High Silver— one for each of their competition pieces Friday night, the dance team spent the weekend attending classes filled with hundreds of young dancers. Dancers took classes in jazz, hip hop, jazz fusion, contemporary, tap and auditioned before just-learned routines were performed onstage in a showcase finale.

In other honors for Island Dance, Melissa Smith was singled out by master teacher Judy Rice from the University of Michigan for a special “Outstanding Dancer” award in the 11-13 ballet class.

Community Events, April 2014

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