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Danza! gets high marks at national competition

From left, row one: Morgan Kuras, Jessica Wilson, Savannah Stein, Meredith Marshall. Row 2: Meghan Johnson, Ella Pacos, Mia Gorka, Ana Szymanek. Row 3: Emma Forthman, Mia Barone, Kyra Taylor, Mckenna Taylor, Tabitha Shevlin. Row 4: Emma Ahlstorm, Grace Nolan, Taylor Thompson, Danielle Krajewski.

Despite the challenges of 2020 Danza! Performing Arts Academy and their student Danzaco dance companies had an amazing yet delayed season finishing out with a National event. At Nationals the group brought home the National title in every division they competed including the highest scoring number of the entire competition; Senior soloist Mckenna Taylor earned a perfect score for her contemporary solo “Bang Bang” competing against 184 ensemble and group dances.

Opening the season with their annual local showcase, the dancers were able to present their travel dances to a local audience in February. During the mandatory shut down the dancers participated in daily classes and rehearsals online. Returning in person the month of July dancers were able to present dances to a limited audience in the spacious Danza! studios.

August presented two onstage competitive opportunities for the Dance Companies, with a National event held in October.

Senior Danzaco dancers included Kyra Taylor, Mckenna Taylor and Mia Barone of Fredonia and Tabitha Shevlin and Emma Forthman of Silver Creek. Dancers performed a Contemporary piece to “Set Fire to the Rain” earning first overall and platinum elite at every event. The dancers earned the Overall National title for “Set Fire to the Rain” with platinum elite in the Senior division.

Junior and Senior Company performed a group jazz number to “Sparkling Diamonds” and a contemporary piece to “Hunter” Additional Hip Hop and Acro numbers were also competed with Danza! being awarded the choreography award for Director Krista Taylor at each event. The acro piece “Run boy Run” won first overall at each event, finishing out the season winning the National title in the small group division. The studio was also awarded the “Most Entertaining group number”, the costume award and “technique excellence” and “Superior storytelling” awards to Mckenna Taylor.

Junior Danzaco was comprised of Emma Ahlstrom of Dunkirk, Grace Nolan and Taylor Thompson of Westfield, Marissa Grisanti of Silver Creek, Mia Gorka of Fredonia, Danielle Krajewski of Gowanda and Ella Pacos of Cassadaga. Performing a high energy dance to “I’m Just a Girl” dancers received numerous top awards.

In their debut season Petite Danzaco performed “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” with Jessica Wilson as Dorothy, Morgan Kuras as the Scarecrow, Savannah Stein as the Cowardly Lion and Meredith Marshall as Tin Man. The dancers earned first overall Musical Theatre and platinum ratings. At Nationals in the group won first overall in their category and had the second highest scoring Petite number of the event.

Interested dancers also compete in a variety of solos and small group numbers. Mckenna Taylor performed two solos in the contemporary modern and open lyrical categories.

At every event Mckenna was awarded Platinum Elite ratings, first overall Highest Scoring solo, the NYSDC title (which is for the highest scoring solo in every age and genre) and twice had the highest scoring dance of the entire competition with two perfect scores. At Nationals Mckenna again had the highest scoring performance of the entire National event with a perfect 300 score.

Kyra Taylor performed a contemporary lyrical piece to “Waves” Kyra received platinum and platinum elite ratings and second place in the Senior age division. Kyra and Mckenna also performed a Contemporary duet to “Riverside” receiving platinum elite ratings and first place overall in duet/trio at every competition.

Senior Mia Barone performed a lyrical piece to “You Mean the World to Me”. Mia earned platinum ratings and second overall in her age category. Tabitha Shevlin performed an acro dance to “Escalate” and a jazz routine to “Tainted Love.”

Tabitha received her first platinum elite at Nationals for both solos. She earned first overall in her age group for “Escalate” at Nationals earning the age 15-16 top score. Emma Forthman performed “You Say” and “Human” she received first overall in her age category with platinum ratings.

Additionally, Juniors Emma Ahlstrom, Mia Gorka, Marissa Grisanti, Grace Nolan, Danielle Krajewski and Taylor Thompson competed in the solo division. Platinum ratings were received by all with first overall in age group going to Grace Nolan and first in category to Ahlstrom, Grisanti, Gorka and Thompson. A duet was performed by Grisanti and Nolan receiving platinum, first in category and first in age division. Grisanti and Shevlin also performed a jazz duet earning first in category with platinum ratings.

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