By LYNN SMITH
Special to The Record
Island Dance, Whidbey’s dance studio extraordinaire, has two categories of competition dancers: those who are contracted members of the “Competition Team” and Independent Competition dancers or “Indies” who compete on their own, at varied Northwest Regional events.
This 2013 season the Indies are veteran competitor Melyssa Smith who performs her self-choreographed solo “Take It All,” and second year competitor Taylor Philippsborn who dances a solo contemporary piece, “It’s Gonna be a Long Walk” choreographed by Island Dance instructor Jamee Pitts.
Most recently, March 8-10, both indie dancers competed at the Spotlight NW Regionals in Tukwila where they won Ruby level awards for their solos and Melyssa was chosen from among 100 Senior level solo entries and awarded the “Outstanding Choreography” Judges Choice banner. Melyssa also earned the highest level Diamond award for an “Interpretive Solo” for which she listened to an unknown piece of music before performing her improvised dance.
At Rainbow, held in January in Seattle, Taylor earned a first place trophy and was awarded a Platinum award level plaque in the Intermediate Division and received a select invitation to a dance education event in New York City. Melyssa also was awarded a Platinum in the Senior Rainbow Division. In February Taylor won a High Gold award at Thunderstruck Regionals and both dancers performed and attended classes at the Pulse Convention in Seattle with “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers Dave Scott, and Desmond Richardson, described as “the best dancer in the world”.
Dance Competition Team highlights: At Encore Regionals in Tukwila March 16-17, Taylor Pitts received the 7th place overall trophy for her tap solo “A Tisket A Tasket” in the Petite Division, and Fiona Roberts, Mya Ford and Gavi Ewart received an award for the trio Lyrical piece “Wild Horses” in the Junior Division. At Thunderstruck Regionals Kelsey Lampe, Grace Colby and Ari Abrahams were awarded first place overall for “In This Shirt” in the Teen Division. In the Petite Division Kendall Marshall received the sixth place overall award plus a Judges Choice award for ‘Best Use of a Prop’ for her solo “Be My Baby,” and Kendall Marshall, Faith Mathew and Taylor Pitts in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” were awarded third place overall.