Steamboat dancers earn scholarships, broaden horizons at Denver convention

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect the addition of Maggie McElhiney and Marty St. Pierre to the list of students earning scholarships.

Ten-year-old T.J. Williams was nervous as he waited to hear the results among a crowd of aspiring dancers.

He had danced well throughout the JUMP Dance Convention in Denver last weekend, but he knew there was a moment in which he excelled, and the judges took notice.

“During the dance we had a freestyle part. I think they really liked that because (the judge) went like, ‘Wow,’” T.J. said.

The Steamboat student, who turns 11 on Friday, freestyled his way to a JUMP VIP scholarship for his age group, one of the top honors at the convention.

Elevation Dance Studio’s second annual trip to the JUMP Dance Convention yielded a host of successes and broadening of horizons for the 18 dancers who traveled there last week.

Six local youth dancers earned scholarships to participate in future JUMP workshops and intensives, and T.J.’s VIP scholarship earns him the chance to compete this July in New York City for the title of Best Dancer at the organization’s annual Dance Awards.

Olivia Satkiewicz earned a class scholarship in ballet, while Liam Catterson, Oliver Cardillo and Marty St. Pierre received their honors for hip-hop.

Maggie McElhiney also earned the studio scholarship, awarded to one dancer per studio.

“It was so unexpected,” studio owner Renee Fleischer said. “You don’t go in thinking about that, you go because you want to learn. When they excel, it makes me feel like we’re really excelling at educating kids to dance and creating little stars.”

T.J. said the 15 hours of dance workshops in styles ranging from hip-hop to disco were a lot of fun, but “the most fun that I had was probably being there with my friends, that’s why I liked it,” he said.

Fleischer said she was proud of her students for expanding their knowledge of dance during the weekend.

Two of the scholarship recipients — Liam and Oliver — are a part of the break-dancing program at Elevation. But their weekend at JUMP may have expanded their horizons after trying out a variety of styles of dance through the convention’s workshops.

“They really loved contemporary, which is so cool.” Fleischer said. “Hopefully this inspires kids to do more with dance. That’s really kind of our whole mission, to be versatile. It’s what brings success to dancers.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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