There is excitement in the air as Elite Team Tryouts are this week at DDD! Dancers 13 and under audition Tuesday, June 19, and dancers 12 and up audition Wednesday, June 20, at the studio.
Members of the Elite team perform at Elite Experience in January and compete in at least three competitions in the months of February and March. In order to prepare, dancers take classes in ballet, tap, and jazz, with additional class(es) in hip hop or tumbling. Dancers at DDD are well rounded dancers who receive positive feedback from other studio owners and judges about their abilities.
Finding Our Numbers
After a short parent/dancer meeting with Miss Jillian and staff, dancers select their audition numbers. As they race to the table to get a certain number, smiles are on everyone’s faces. They are excited, yet nervous. Dancers help each other and giving each other hugs and words of encouragement.
Returning member Laklyn Zimmerman auditioning for her third year said, “I am super excited about tonight and for the upcoming season!”
Katie Elliot, auditioning for her second year, said, “I am looking forward to showing off my turns.”
Dance moms Sara Bonacci and Jill Sandro were smiling as they left the parent/dancer meeting with Miss Jillian and Mr. Rob.
Sara, 4th year veteran dance mom, had this to say, “I’m excited for Hannah to start another year of dance.” Jill, 1st year dance mom, followed with, “I’m new to the Elite dance world, and I think it will be fun. I am looking forward to talking with Alli after the audition tonight.”
Finding Our Rooms
Staff members Laura Lowe, Brooke Abell, Kalie Dickman, Aubrey Gulick, Charlie DuHadway and Jillian DuHadway teach choreography for the auditions.
Teacher Aubrey Gulick is looking for fun personalities. “I want to see dancers who have fun dancing because we can teach them the technique.” Teacher Kalie Dickman said she is looking for energy and passion. “I want the kids to inspire me!”
Mr. Rob working with parents and helping dancers with their last minute needs said, “This is an exciting time. It is great to have everyone back in the studio. We are looking forward to seeing old and new faces join the team. Tonight is about giving the dancers the opportunity to show us their talent.
Time to Shine!
Dancer learned choreography and were given time to practice their new routines before heading in to see the judges.
Are We Ready for the Audition?
Before making their way into the audition, the following dancers had this to say. Returning 4th year member Kaitlyn Klumpp said, “It is really fun and tiring, but I am ready!”
Going into her second year, Ava Elliot said, “Tryouts are not as scary this year because I know what to expect.” When asked what her favorite thing about dance was, she responded with a smile, “I like it all!”
Makaila M is a fourth grader trying out for her first year. She and her family realize it is a huge commitment, but they support her because she loves to dance. The family loves the structure at DDD.
Meet the Judges
Kaitlynn McCrackin graduated in 2016 from Grand Valley State University with a double major in Human Resources and Marketing and a Dance minor. Kaitlynn joined the Laker Dance Team and won back to back National Championships in 2015 and 2016. Kaitlynn also participated in other dance related clubs creating choreography for football and basketball games and different dance groups on campus. She created choreography for multiple high school dance teams as well. She is also a 2012 DDD alumnus and is returning to judge for the first time. “I am excited to be back as a judge. I am also excited for all of the girls who are participating. When auditioning, it is always a learning experience regardless if you make it or not. I am really hoping that the dancer bring it into the audition. They need to show me what they have and entertain me, all while having fun.”
Melissa Greve is a 2010 DDD alumnus and attended Northwood University. Melissa is currently teaching at Bohaty’s School of Dance and is their competition team director. She is also Cecchetti Method certified through Grade III and has been teaching for eight years. This past year she was able to send ballet students under her name to be tested in the Cecchetti Method. This is her second time appearing as a judge at DDD. “I find it very interesting to be on the other side of the table. I remember being nervous when I was auditioning, and now I get to see them work through their nervousness. I want to see performance from the dancers. I want their personalities to shine through and for them to enjoy the moment.”