Familiar faces were seen all around at this year’s Morgan Academy of Dance recital.
Nearly every child in Morgan County involved in dance or tumbling has at one point taken a lesson from the Morgan Academy of Dance. The dance company, run by Yvonne Kennison and Gretchen Richards, has been around for over 40 years now. North Summit Extreme, run by Kalie Wessmen, is traditionally included in this review as well.
Loyal audience member Helen Smedley was awarded with an honorary medal at the evening performance for her dedication attending 15 years worth of Dance Academy performances. She beamed with pride at the honor.
Local favorite Jerry Pierce with Interstate Mobile Music and Dance is a widely know face at these recitals as well. He and his wife Nancy have provided the sound system for the Dance Academy for over 10 years now. The event would not be the same without them. Kennison joked saying, “Jerry is the best. If he ever gets anything wrong it is only because we got it wrong.”
Wisper Pentz and her crew were other key players that night making sure all the lighting was taken care of.
There were also many awards given to dancers who had been with the company as long as 15 years. Jessica Hammer was among the long-time awards recipients and Kennison gushed that she remembered first teaching Hammer when she just 4 or 5 years old. Kami Standing, who has been with the company for 15 years, was on crutches but was still dancing the night away with her teammates. Others receiving 15-year trophies included Sarah Ashby, Alayna Gunn and Alyssa Barr.
Five-year trophies went to Bailey Venz, Madison Richens, Lynnaea Barney, Kaitlin Comer, Alivia Jaffa, Briglyn Dorius, Sharon Gunn, Quyncee Dorius, Miranda Morgan, Sierra Moser, Camilla Brooks, Taylor Sowder, Colton Huntington, London Huntington, Lizzy Patterson, Amelia Richins, Madison Joiner, Calissa Robinson, Rachel Spolle and Melia Evans. Ten-year trophies went to Katelyn Lee, Taysia Crowther, Shealee Calder, Kayleen Reeder, Charlee Peterson, Sara Vidrine, Emily Bingham and Taylor Harames.
The coaches were clearly proud of their dancers. They watched with smiles during each performance. This year’s teachers included Kennison, Richards, Wessman, Crystal Howe, Makel Richards, Lindsey Richards and Jodi Melendez. Tumbling coaches were Jessie Romero and Brock Wilson.
Smiles, oohs and ahhs were shared by the audience as well as dancers captured rhythms and tumblers went soaring over clowns and ballerinas.
Even in her clown make-up and attire, Vicki Walker is another favorite face having worked with the Dance Academy for nearly 40 years. Her fellow stagehands Stephanie Stuart and Darylon Stuart made sure everything on and off stage went off without a hitch.
Performances were staggered throughout the evening from several different dance genres. Everything from ballet and tumbling to clogging and jazz was represented. And don’t think this was all about the girls. Perhaps the most enjoyable performance of the night came from the Good Foot Hip Hop duet by Braden and Nathen Howe. And it is hard to top a performance from tap dancing Ghostbusters.
The recital was held at Morgan High School, but due to rising fees for the rental of the auditorium, dress rehearsals were held at the nearby studio now located by Riverside Park.
The Morgan Academy of Dance would like to thank assistant teachers Tricia Buss and Kami Standing; student teachers Kate Netherton, Aspen McAruthur, Kayla Jackson, Michaela Mortensen, Taylor Sowder and Alyssa Barr; as well as staff and volunteers including David Kennison, Ty and Marina Eldridge, Michelle White, Kelly Flitton and Dave and Lorna Carter. Yvonne would especially like to thank her husband Dave for all of his help, support and understanding during these busy times. He has always been a real trooper.
The Dance Academy would also like to thank the students for their hard work and their parents for their support.