Isabela DosAnjos, center front, and her fellow junior small group dancers from Tutterow Dance Academy in Largo perform to the song “Mirror Mirror” during the Encore Dance Competition Nationals in Savannah June 21-25. The group received second place platinum and eighth overall in the top 10 high score.
LARGO – The Tutterow Dance Academy, based in Largo, sent 56 company dancers to Savannah, Georgia to compete in the Encore Dance Competition Nationals June 21-25.
Competing against 45 studios from across the United States, dancers in the petites, juniors, teens and seniors categories received high gold, platinum and diamond awards. Tutterow’s teen solo, senior small groups, senior large groups, junior and senior production also placed first in the overall high score of their categories.
“We were pleased,” said Debbie Kennedy, director of the dance academy. “We always do pretty well in competition.”
In fact, out of 33 entries in the senior solos category, Tutterow dancers took the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth of the overall high scores. Out of 39 senior small groups, the academy claimed first, third, fourth, fifth and 10th of the top 10 high scores.
For the first time this year, 10 dancers from the Tutterow Dads Rock team entered the competition in the senior category for ages 40 and older. Their performance “brought down the house with standing ovations from the judges,” Kennedy explained.
“They worked extra hard and made it happen,” she said.
A group of dance dads have performed in the academy’s spring recital twice before. The concept started as a joke, but Kennedy said the men became very serious about getting their steps just right.
This year after the recital, she asked if they wanted to perform their medley routine in the competition. Again, their performance proved a success, and the group was awarded first place platinum.
“Now, after the competition, the moms want to get involved,” Kennedy said. “They’re like, when can we get started?”
Tutterow dancers had to qualify at the regional level in Daytona in April to compete at nationals. The dance academy brought a total of 68 numbers to the four-day nationals competition. Kennedy said she couldn’t pick a favorite routine.
“I think all of our kids get on stage and do their absolute best once they get out there,” she said. “They all just worked too hard.”
One of Kennedy’s graduating dancers will be training at the Joffrey Ballet School with a scholarship for the jazz and contemporary trainee program in New York City this fall. AnnMarie White is a graduate of Seminole High School and has danced at Tutterow Dance Academy for 14 years, almost as long as Kennedy has been the director.
Twenty-six Tutterow dancers have opted to travel to Orlando to participate in the Dance Theater USA competition July 20-23. The students take workshops during the day and compete in the evening.
Tutterow Dance Academy will host an annual dance registration for fall classes Aug. 15-16, enrolling boys and girls ages 2 to adult.