Sixteen Missoula dancers returned to town last week with a haul of trophies from a national competition in Los Angeles.
The team of dancers from On Center Performing Arts won two first place trophies, one third place trophy, and an award for overall Best Showmanship at the 31st annual semifinal competition at the Tremaine Dance Convention and Competition, held April 21-22 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. The event, one of 20 semifinals held nation-wide in recent months, drew some 800 dancers from across the country.
“It was pretty huge for us, being the only team from Montana,” said Lisa Deer, director of the Missoula dance studio and company. “I’m just so proud of our dancers.”
On Center won first-place trophies for two of its production pieces. “Excavation,” a bug-themed piece choreographed by Deer for all 16 dancers, won top prize in the Teen Contemporary Category. “America,” adapted from “West Side Story,” won the Teen Musical Theatre caption and also earned the company its showmanship citation.
Lili Hardy, 13, won third place in Teen Solo Musical Theatre for her rendition of the song, “Hollywood.”
Hardy’s trophy added to her April haul. The preceding weekend, she won a week’s worth of classes in New York City for her performance at the Montana Dance Arts Association Spring Workshop in Helena. On Center dancer Regan Samson, 17, also won a $1,000 scholarship at the Helena event.
The awards at the competition in Los Angeles qualified On Center’s dancers to participate in the national finals of the Tremaine competition, set for this July in Florida. Deer said she doubts her dancers will be able to afford to attend that event, but is nonetheless proud of their accomplishments.
“It’s been quite a big couple of weeks for all of us,” said Deer.