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Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School » Elite Dance Team Celebrates First Place Win

Elite Dance Team Celebrates First Place Win

  DSC_7290 The Utopian Academy for the Arts dance squad recently won first place in a majorette tournament that featured some of Georgia’s top competitors. The Elite Elegance Dance Team received a perfect score of 10 in every category for their technique, costumes, and musicality and the complexity of their choreography. The team’s trophy is on display in the front office at Utopian. They practiced for nearly three months to prepare for the tournament. “The girls really worked hard,” said Shakira Ballantyne, dance instructor at Utopian. “They did an excellent job at the tournament. The judges really liked that our dance routine told a story and used props.” The Elite Elegance Dance Team tackled the issue of bullying among teen girls in middle school. The girls used their acting talents and hip hop dance background to portray the tension between feuding factions in the hallways. In the dance, the “mean girls” were focused on their appearance and the “brainiacs” were more focused on grades than fashion. Jordan Tanks, 13, the team captain of Elite Elegance, said she played a “nerd” in the routine. “This is only my second year dancing,” said the veteran competition cheerleader.“Dancing expresses how I feel. With cheering, it’s more about stunting and being excited all of the time.” Tanks said she was “shocked” when her team won the competition. “There were a lot of good dance teams there,” she said.Ballantyne said her team had a routine that was choreographed to be a crowd pleaser. They danced through three songs. “The competition was asking for creativity, so I took that to heart especially with us being a fine arts school,” she said. “I made sure there was a storyline. I knew that it would set us apart from the rest. That is exactly what happened.” Elite Elegance’s dance routine started with students standing near lockers. Tanks said she was pushed to the ground by a mean girl. By the end of the dance, the bullies and brianiacs began to respect each other.“My favorite part was when we battled against each other,” said Brianna Peterson, a seventh grader who played a mean girl. “At the end, we all became friends.” Elite Elegance’s performance received thunderous applause. “We had a lot of people stand up for us,” Tanks said. “It felt great.” The win at the LukeSports tournament comes on the heels of dance team tryouts for the 2016-17 school year. Nine girls recently tried out for the Utopian dance team. The group performs in parades, school programs, and entertains crowds during basketball games.A panel of independent judges – Mary Lott, Lauren Henry, and Crystal Dozier – chose the new team. Henry, a high school dance coach, said she knows what it takes to be a good dancer. Her team appeared on the reality dance competition show “Bring It.” “They have to be able to keep going when they mess up,” Dozier. “They have to have confidence and charisma.”The girls were selected based on their stage presence, versatility and technical abilities. The members of the 2016-17 Elite Elegance Dance Team are:  Elite Dance Veterans: Jordan Tanks, Da’Ryah Peoples, and Brianna Peterson. New members: Chadai Jones, Shanelle Barham, Nahiah Wilson and Danielle Clark. DSC_7295 DSC_7276
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