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Dance Arts Los Alamos Students Compete In Las Vegas

on February 9, 2019 - 8:29am
DALA Director Stephen Wynne with dancers from left, Elizabeth Merrill, Jadie Gonzales and Avery Hinckley. Courtesy/DALA
DALA News:
Three local dancers representing Dance Arts Los Alamos, went to the big city of Las Vegas, Nev. for the Feb. 7 Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) dance competition.  
Los Alamos High School student Avery Hinckley, 14, has been dancing since he was 4 years old. His goal is to one day become a professional ballet dancer. Los Alamos Middle School student Jadie Gonzales, 14, has been dancing since she was 7 years old. She would like to become a professional performer in acting or dancing. LAMS student Elizabeth Merrill, 12, has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She would like to become a professional dancer, and her favorite form of dance is classical ballet.
Each dancer performed a solo piece that they have been practicing for months.
In addition to the dancing they are already involved in they had to each pick a variation from a selection of dance pieces, learn the choreography on their own, and then meet with their dance coach Stephen Wynne for a minimum of 10, 1-hour, personal 1 on 1 coaching sessions. Wynne has been the DALA director since fall of 2017, his work and leadership have been noted both nationally and internationally.
I will always encourage anyone who wants to attend YAGP. At its core, YAGP is designed for dancers who want to pursue dance professionally or educationally, but it is appropriate for students who have a desire to experience that type of energy level, Wynne said. I would say it is a rather serious competition, yet it is open to anyone who registers. Dancers perform from an industry of professionals and as the competition progresses cuts are made. The adjudicators are folks who run dance programs at colleges, industry choreographers, and artistic directors of professional dance companies. As a result of participation, dancers might receive full scholarships, apprenticeships, trainee positions, and even jobs just based on this one performance at YAGP.
This was the first time for all three dancers to participate at a competition of this level, however, these three plan to compete in the future as well. They worked very hard and were very excited for the journey.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the competition at this level. It will give me a better understanding of what I need to work on in order to follow my dream of being a professional dancer.” — Elizabeth Merrill
“I’m excited to see the different dancers and experience the competitive atmosphere, because I want to be a professional dancer.” —Avery Hinckley
“I expect to learn from this entire experience from learning my variation to my lessons, and the competition. I just wanted to see what people who were serious about performing arts were like since i want a career in that area.” —Jadie Gonzales
“It is impressive to observe how these three students are so responsive to individual coaching sessions. Their work ethic and focus is nothing less than above and beyond. The improvements that I have been privileged to observe, after 10 weeks of coaching, is nothing less than remarkable! These three young teens, who strongly desire to pursue a career in dance, are undoubtedly on a pathway of success! What an honor it has been for me to have shared this part of their journey.” —Stephen Wynne