Universal Dance Academy’s (UDA) competitive team directed by Vivian Ball and Angela Beery took 65 members to the 2017 Midwest National Finals for Spotlight Dance Cup in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, June 24–30. UDA and 24 other dance studios spent six days at the Grand Geneva Resort taking master classes and competing for national titles.
Universal was honored to have 13 of their dancers invited to be a part of the Elite Performance Team. To win this invitation at regionals, each dancer had to place in the top ten with their solo, top five for the dance down, or compete as a title contestant. UDA’s 13 dancers learned a full piece of choreography titled “Dark River” from choreographer Andrij Deneka, judge and professional dancer from New York. Each dancer perfected his intense jazz choreography with 85 other dancers of all ages. Universal was proud of the hard work each student displayed in the Final Extravaganza presentation of awards. Elite team members were: Beaudree Ball, Lillian Ball, Hudson Beery, Paxton Beery, Kelsie Bliss, Paige Brophy, Halie Gibson, Lexie Gibson, Addison Hasenpflug, Carrie Keating, Madilyn Lundy, Emily Vaggalis & Emery Wenz.
Spotlight Dance Cup has a special section of their competition known as the dance down - categorized by age division and split into Future Gems and Competitive levels. Each dancer learns a routine in ten minutes on the stage in front of judges. The dancers then have to perfect the routine instantaneously, while also adding style and performance to stand out. This part of the Competition is added to give dancers the professional experience of auditioning for the dance world. Each dance down started with over 100 contestants; the field is then pared to the final top 10.
UDA had several Dance Down champions: 12 & up age division “Improvisation” Dance Down - Kelsie Bliss was the Diamond Winner National Champion. Lillian Ball and Halie Gibson were in the top ten. Senior Dance Down results: Lillian Ball was the repeat Diamond Winner National Champion (this was her 2nd National Champion Dance Down in the past two years), 4th overall Claire Johnston, 5th overall Lucy Schwartz. Halie Gibson was in the top ten. Junior Dance Down: Addison Hasenpflug was the Diamond Winner National Champion; 2nd overall Hudson Beery; 4th overall Madilyn Lundy. Future Gems Intermediate Division: 3nd overall Aja King. Hunter Long was in the top ten.
UDA had several duo/trio and solo dances fare well at Spotlight Dance Cup. In the Junior Division, Addison Hasenpflug was the Junior National Champion for the 2nd year in a row and the Junior Miss Spotlight winner with her jazz solo choreographed by Vivian Ball, titled “Miss Kiss.” Addison received her sash and crown for 2017 title from the 2016 Junior Miss Spotlight Hudson Beery, also from UDA. It’s stunning to see one team member pass along her crown to another team member. Other results: 2nd place overall & technical skill winner was Hudson Beery with her tap solo to “Someone”; 5th place & 1st runner-up for Miss Spotlight was Lexie Gibson with her lyrical solo to “Roses & Violets”; 9th place - Beaudree Ball with his tap solo to “Bring It Back”.
UDA won the Triple Crown Award for the Junior Solo Division (won by Beaudree Ball for tap, Hudson Beery for tap, and Addison Hasenpflug for jazz). In Junior Duo/Trio Division Winning National Champion jazz trio “That Man” was choreographed by Angela Beery, with dancers Hudson Beery, Lexie Gibson & Addison Hasenpflug; 2nd place - “Do Something Crazy” a tap duo by Beaudree Ball & Paxton Beery; 5th place - “I Get to Love You” a lyrical duo by Hudson Beery & Lexie Gibson; 6th place - “Snowflakes” a lyrical duo by Addison Hasenpflug & Madilyn Lundy; 7th place - “Absolutely Final Goodbye” a tap trio by Beaudree Ball, Addison Hasenpflug & Caitlyn Kleinschmit.
Teen Solo Division: 3rd place in the nation was Halie Gibson with her jazz solo “Castle” & 3rd Runner – Up for Teen Miss Spotlight; 7th place - Emily Vaggalis with “Need” her lyrical solo & 2nd Runner – Up for Teen Miss Spotlight, as well as winning National Teen Miss Photogenic;10th place - Emery Wenz “Goodbye Goodnight” her lyrical solo; 12th place Paige Brophy “In My Head” jazz solo. Teen Duo/Trio Division: 9th place overall - “Marry You” a tap duo with Hudson Beery & Dalton Pinzon; Senior Solo Division: 4th place - Kelsie Bliss “Crazy In Love” tap solo; 6th place - Lillian Ball “Just Come Home” lyrical solo & 2nd runner-up for Senior Miss Spotlight.
Vivian Ball received a National Choreography award for the Senior lyrical solo “Just Come Home”; 12th place - Claire Johnston “Jealous” lyrical solo, she also received an Entertainment Award for jazz solo “Overdrive”; 14th place- Patia Wolfe “Holy Water” contemporary solo. UDA won the 2017 Triple Crown Award for Highest Scoring Senior Solos won by Lillian Ball with her lyrical solo “Just Come Home”; Jack Beery, tap solo “Good to be Alive”; and Kelsie Bliss, tap solo “Crazy in Love”; Senior Duo/Trio: 2nd in the nation and received “Directors Choice & Technical Skill Awards for “Your All I Need” a tap duo by Jack Beery & Kelsie Bliss; 6th place “When It’s All Over” contemporary trio by Lillian Ball, Claire Johnston & Allison McElroy.
Spotlights Studio Achievement for highest scoring duo/trios went to Universal for these" dances “Do Something Crazy” Junior duo, “Marry You” Teen duo and “You’re All I Need” Senior duo.
Owners Vivian Ball & Angela Beery took 17 group dances to Nationals and felt blessed to receive the highest adjudicated scores of 2 Ruby’s and 15 Diamonds on each of the dances. Junior Small Group Division: National Champions & the highest score of all petite and junior entries at Nationals - “Goodbye” a jazz group choreographed by Angela Beery, with dancers Hudson Beery, Ava Freeman, Lexie Gibson, Addison Hasenpflug & Madilyn Lundy; 2nd place & “Technical Skill Award” for lyrical dance “Nearly Morning” by Hudson Beery, Lexie Gibson, Addison Hasenpflug & Madilyn Lundy. Junior Large Group Division winners: 5th place in the nation, also an entertainment award and highest tap score of all petite and Junior group dances tap group “Hollywood Wiz” by Beaudree Ball, Hudson Beery, Paxton Beery, Maya Conrad, Ava Freeman, Lexie Gibson, Addison Hasenpflug, Caitlyn Kleinschmit, Madilyn Lundy & Helen Ngu. Teen Large Group Division Winners: 4th in nation and “technical skill Award” for lyrical was “Home” by Lillian Ball, Hudson Beery, Olivia Foster, Lexie Gibson, Jennie Hammel, Addison Hasenpflug, Carrie Keating, Sarah Mathis, Emily Vaggalis and Emery Wenz. Senior Small Group Division: 5th place - “Got The Love” a jazz number by Lillian Ball, Paige Brophy, Halie Gibson, Claire Johnston, and Allison McElroy; 6th place - “Brand New” a tap by Lillian Ball, Jack Beery, Kelsie Bliss, Claire Johnston, and Allison McElroy; 9th place - “How to Say Goodbye” a lyrical by Lillian Ball, Kelsie Bliss, Halie Gibson, Claire Johnson, Emily Vaggalis Emery Wenz, and Patia Wolfe. Ruby Class Division: Teen National Champion title was “Sax” a jazz group with Claire Baker, Maya Conrad, Aja King, Bailey Leuty, and Hunter Long; 2nd in the nation - “Morning Bird” a Petite lyrical by Dottie Francisco, Ruby Francisco, Kamarie Jenkins, Mckinzey Lile, Natalie Shield, and Sidney Stephan; 7th place - jazz group with Phoenix Decker, Dottie Francisco, Ruby Francisco, Kamarie Jenkins, Mckinzey Lile, Natalie Shield, and Sidney Stephan. Mckinzey Lile won National Petite Miss Photogenic. UDA’s Repertory team competed in the Production Category. The team consisted of 55 original members at Regionals and traveled to Nationals with 40 members. There were 11 productions and only four received Diamond awards. UDA's largest competition group with several new mini members were excited to win 3rd overall in such an extreme category of amazing productions. The success came from dedication to each other, teamwork, and all members sharing a positive attitude and a love for dance.