Ashley’s favorite genre of dance is contemporary because she loves to tell a story through her dance and make the audience ‘feel’ something. Maddie’s favorite genre of dance is tap. She loves feeling the beat of a song through her feet.
Dance has brought Ashley and Maddie closer as sisters and as best friends. It has helped them both build confidence and learn self discipline. They explain, “Dance has taught us to strive for progress and not perfection. It has taught us to overcome fears and to not give up. The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.”
Ashley and Maddie have attended several dance conventions and competitions together. Attending conventions helps inspire them and it helps them meet many different choreographers. Ashley was drawn to dance from watching her sister at competitions. She left competitive gymnastics for competitive dance.
They have accomplished much together, both winning partial scholarships to the Hollywood Summer Tour, and both having had the opportunity to be ambassadors for So Danca in 2017.
They both feel blessed to be able to share their dance experience together, the celebratory moments and the tougher ones. This past year they moved and had to switch dance studios. Although it was stressful for both of them, it was also a great learning experience. It taught them to break out of their shells and work hard. They are excited to see what the future holds for them, and they will find out together.
Kinleigh finds motivation in older dancers she looks up to. They remind her to work hard every day, because she wants to dance like them one day. The biggest lesson she has learned through dance is to never give up. She has learned that it is OK if you do not get first place or do not get "called out" at a convention or class.
"You have to fail in order to grow and failure makes us stronger," she said. "I now know that I never lose. I either win, or I learn."
Kinleigh has traveled all over the U.S. for competitions, and has met many new friends through dance. She received a scholarship and has been crowned Miss Fusion and Most Photogenic.
Kinleigh's solo this year is a contemporary dance called "We'll soon be found,' and it is about all the loved ones she has lost this year.
"I have been able to grieve and keep my loved ones' memory alive every time I hit that stage to perform," she said. "It is always for them."
Her first tap solo helped her to realize what she was capable of. She works hard to be the best dancer that she can be through extra classes, intensives and conventions.
She has danced with most of the same girls since she was two years old, and thinks of them as family.
Carolyne is competing in eight dances this year with Pure Movement Dance. "Dance makes me a leader and a mentor, and is a great place for me to find my mentors," she says.
when her family of four experienced a massive house fire in February. Her family was safe, so despite the circumstances, she was grateful.
“I am grateful for dance for many reasons, but especially because it has given me life long friendships,” Layla said. “I am glad my passion for dance has allowed me to cross paths with so many wonderful dancers and their families.”
At Jovo Dance, she feels right at home.
She’s been dancing there since she was 18 months old taking ‘mommy and me’ class. Her favorite genre of dance is ballet, because “it is the foundation for all styles of dance.”
She is in her first year of a full scholarship at a performing arts school in London. She has danced on the Disney stage, traveled all over the United Kingdom, been to Norwayand America, and is going to Russia this year to dance.
But none of that came easily.
"I have battled through a hip injury and come through," Haydn said. "I work hard and fought to get a full scholarship as my parents couldn't afford the fees."
When her mom was ill, dance also helped her to cope with the sadness.
"I honestly don't believe I'd be where I am today or be the person I am if it wasn't for dance,"she said.
She was picked to be a Dance Hope Cure Ambassador at Velocity Nationals this past year. "Dance Hope Cure is a charity for kids with cancer,” she explains. “It was then I realized how fortunate I am to have my health and that I can use my passion for dance to help create awareness of this horrible disease that takes so many children each year. I feel so lucky to be able to share my love of dance while helping other kids that are going through the fight of their life.”
The biggest lesson Brelynn has learned in dance is to not compare herself to other dancers. She says, “We all have our special strengths and being me is the most important thing I can be. Being unique and expressing my strengths is what makes dance so beautiful.”
"There is always something to learn, always something to improve," Gianna said. "You have to work hard but it’s worth it and you want to."
She was able to perform at Disney World and in a NFL halftime show with her team from the Tampa Bay Dance Academy. Through conventions, she has been able to take classes from some of the most talented teachers and choreographers in the country.
"Dance keeps me healthy and creative," Gianna said. "It provides me with real friendships with people that I respect and learn from every day."
Gianna also has two sisters who dance. She is grateful to her parents and her studio director, Alicia Koger, for helping her to become a better dancer and person.
They started Unity4 to spread a positive message to young girls around the world, and to be positive role models showing girls that with love and friendship anything can be achieved. They hope to remind the world that no matter who you are or where you are from, people are 'more alike than different.' They are each of a different ethnicity and look different on the outside, but inside they are all the same - they are all 'United' in this life.
This past November Unity4 put on a performance for patients at Doernbecher Children's Hospital. They take a day every spring to clean up and plant trees and flowers at one of their city parks. They do many charitable events with Element Dance Studio, using performances to help raise money for local schools.
Their ultimate goal and dream is to one day know that they were able to inspire other girls - to be able to hear someone say, “Because of you, I knew I could…”
As a little girl, Brittney Mayberry was always fascinated by the way dancers moved so effortlessly. Now she sees herself as one of those dancers she always looked up to.
She is currently studying Dance Education at Arizona State University. She wants to professionally dance for as long as she can and eventually become an artistic director for a dance company. She hopes to keep growing and improving throughout her dance career.
“You can always learn something,” she says. “Every time I am taking class or performing I am constantly learning from my peers, my teachers, and my performances. One can master something, but there is always room to be better than you once were before. Through dance, I have learned to take in everything and each small detail. I have become a better listener and I continue to apply feedback and my own personal critique to my dancing.”
Dance has given her a new perception of the performing arts. It allows to to connect with friends and strangers through art.
Her dance education has exposed her to many new discoveries. She found her love of modern dance through her education with Nicole Olson, a principal dancer and assistant director of Scorpius Dance Theatre.
“I have dabbled in counter technique with Joy Davis and explored how to create movement in new ways with Carly Conder. I have learned a lot about myself through this expression of art through my body and I have gained a better awareness of me as an individual in the world," she said.
In hindsight, Brittney is able to see how far she has come. She has learned to appreciate her own beauty and expression, and to be her best self.