Nine local girls leaped en avant to victory, receiving top Omega Dance Challenge awards after competing with hundreds of other dancers at the Scottish Rite Center in Allentown on April 22 and 23.
The Kutztown Dance Ensemble, (Marilyn’s Dance Studio competition team) members led by Director-Instructor Micaela Hulsebos, dazzled the audience, judges and fellow artists with their graceful performances. Collectively, they took home three of the highest possible award score trophies, a fourth for the second highest score range, and a Showmanship Award bestowed upon the teacher and studio.
Miss Hulsebos is a talented dancer/choreographer herself, who leads by example. Hulsebos focuses her lessons on mastery of basics, technical excellence, artistic expression, and teamwork and teaches all types of dance. All dance entries for the Omega Challenge are original numbers carefully crafted to evoke emotion from the melding of movement and music. Choreography demonstrates age-appropriate mastery of form and execution and showcases the girls’ individual and group strengths. The success of Hulsebo’s strategy—and the commitment and hard work of the dancers-- shows in the number of high-score awards received.
“With ballet you get cardio, flexibility, and fun, and dancing at competitions has really helped our technique and our self-confidence,” says Morgan Foley, 12, of Fleetwood. “We’ve all become good friends and love to perform together.”
Katie Vallies (Kutztown) received a 1st Place Diamond trophy in Ballet age 13-14 (Handel’s Water Music). Abigail Engle (Shoemakersville) also received a 1st Place Diamond in the Pointe, age 15-16 category (Dawn Variation). Yet another 1st Place Diamond was awarded for the Ballet 11-12 category. That team includes Morgan Foley (Fleetwood), Jaylynn Hottenstein (Fleetwood), Emme Malick (Kutztown), Fiora Schnell (Kutztown), Ashley Teel (Topton), and Katie Vallies who performed to “Arrival of the Birds.” According to the Omega web site, 1st Place Diamond Awards are given for scores of 295 or higher from a possible 300 total and qualify the dancers to compete in nationals if desired. The Pointe age 13-14 team (Abigail Engle, Hallie Kunkel-Kutztown, Greta Feiertag-Kutztown) performed to “Street in a Frontier Town” to earn a 1st Place Platinum Award.
Watch for news on future performances by these talented youngsters.
*En avant is a ballet term which means any forward step.