At the Gail Wildfong School of Dance, the competitive dance team’s spring travel schedule is set in August. However, with COVID-19 and the ever-changing state regulations, the team dancers almost missed one of the scheduled competitions in Grand Rapids in April.
Just one week before the competition, the venue for VIP Dance had to be changed to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Director Vreni Graveline believes it all worked out for the better in the end. In her opinion, it was one of the most memorable competitions the studio has ever attended, and with just about an hour of extra travel added, it was a fairly simple switch.
With COVID-safe block scheduling, the team danced in the gorgeously regal Embassy Theater with a hometown audience all to themselves. Because of the block schedule, the team wasn’t able to practice inside the theater prior to competing as they usually do. With just a slight chill in the air, the dancers practiced in downtown Fort Wayne in front of the Parkview Field minor league baseball stadium.
The team performed extremely well despite these unique circumstances. Each dance received an adjudicated award which was either gold, platinum, or diamond.
Diamond scores are always more difficult for any studio to receive, and GWSD snagged quite a few. Diamond awards went to Breanna and Callie Mead for their lyrical duet, Nicole Pollock for both her lyrical and contemporary solos, Callie Mead for her lyrical solo, Darby and Brenna McKimmy for a tap duet, Breanna Mead and Nicole Pollock for a contemporary duet, Madi Wendling for her contemporary solo, and Mikayla Petherbridge for her contemporary solo.
Group dances receiving diamond awards were senior musical theater, the graduate lyrical group, senior jazz, senior lyrical, senior tap, senior modern, senior hip hop, and the pom team. Overall awards were announced at the end of the entire weekend after all the studios performed. Out of nearly 700 dances and multiple studios taking the stage, the Gladwin studio competed amazingly well!
Overall awards were received by senior large groups in sr. musical theater (9th), sr. lyrical (8th and the lyrical division award), graduates lyrical (7th and a judges’ award), sr. tap (6th and a judges’ award), and sr. Modern (5th and a choreography award).
The pom team received seventh overall senior small group and most entertaining. Junior large groups snagged overalls for musical theater (5th), jazz (4th), lyrical (3rd), and modern (1st). Junior tap team received first overall in the small group category, along with a costume award. Solos and duets are usually up against a large number of dancers, and overalls are often very difficult to receive. Soloists bringing home overall awards were Liberty Kidd (10th teen nova level), Hadassah Heintz (8th teen nova level), Ava Mattice (10th junior nova level), Chloe Mausolf (8th junior nova level), and Cloe Pate (5th junior nova level).
In the senior classic level, Nicole Pollock received seventh overall, a lyrical division award, and choreography award (Ms. Adrienne Schlitzkus). Duet overalls were awarded to Madison and Lauren Shell (4th nova level), the Mead sisters (5th classic level), the McKimmy sisters (7th classic level), and Emma Schwan and Mikayla Petherbridge (10th classic level).
The petite jazz team competed for the very first time and received a platinum (the highest rank available at their level) and first overall! Additional special awards went to the sr. tap and modern teams for ninth and eighth place respectively on the VIP list, which ranks all of the highest scoring group routines of the entire competition. The dancers are currently wrapping up their season and getting ready for the annual June recital, which will take place this year at the Gladwin Arena (a new recital venue due to COVID-19 restrictions). The dancers can’t wait to take the stage one last time this season on June 10, 11, and 12.