Hammond Indiana Michelles Dance Group Competes Virtually in Chicago

Hammond Dance Center Competes Virtually

   Every year, Michelle’s Dance Group goes to  Dance Competitions around Chicago. But with Covid-19, live, in person competitions were cancelled this spring. But they did get to compete in the Starboard National Talent Competition “virtually.’

   All entries were recorded in the studio and sent to Starboard who live streamed them during the competition. While it was, indeed, a strange experience, Michelle said they found that doing a competition virtually was actually easier on the dancers!

    “They were less nervous and were able to let their personalities shine a little bit more without the nerves,” she said.   But one of the hurdles is that studio space is not as big as a stage for which they were choreographed to perform.  Adapting their performance to suit the space, Michelle said her dancers did amazingly well.

    “The group dance actually got the “Fantastic Formations” award because they had such good spacing while dancing around each other,” she added. “The other problem that presented itself was the social distancing guidelines. We had to record the dances in timed intervals to keep the dancers separate so we could keep them safe.”  Performing in a virtual situation was evidently a rewarding experience as each Showmaker routine got a High Gold award, the Judges Award, and also placed Overall in their Category.

   The Showmaker Competition Team for 2020 is: Juliana Basulto, Ava Colantuono, Haley Downen, Rosalinda Gallegos, Skyler Gizynski, Alexis Gonzales, Taylor Hansen, Serenity Houk, Lily Morando, Greta O’Brien, Juliana Perez, Hilaire Probus, Blake Terry, Lydia Terry, Emily Wienke (Michelle’s Senior dancer who graduates from Clark H.S. in 2021), Rylie Wienke and Jayla Williams. The team is taught by Michelle Zylo and Aimee Terry.

       Now when it came time for the annual recital, Michelle knew this could not be an in -person event.  So, they decorated the studio with sparkly curtains and balloons and all the kids came in their costumes for their last class, and had their performance taped.  Next the tapes were edited and made into a video that was put on-line by a link to the dancers, their families, and friends.  The name of the recital was, appropriately enough, “We’re All in This Together.”

    “The parents and students have been phenomenal and understanding about everything,” she said. “We still wanted to showcase all the hard work the dancers have put in.”  And dancing, just like theatre and music and the visual arts, the Arts will not give up just because there’s a new world out there to conquer.

   According to Michelle, “Whether online, in person, or practicing on your own, dancing for some is a way of life. Nothing can stop you when you have that passion inside of you.” Michelle’s Dance Center will begin its 37th season starting in September.  She offers classes in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Acrobats, Baton Twirling, and Cheer/Poms starting with 18 months old children through adults.

   Have any questions?  Please can the Center at 219-659-7837.  Michelle’s Dance Center is located at 3835 Hohman Ave. in Hammond, Indiana.

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Sue Baxter