Suffolk performers step up to success

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Young performers at the Dynamic Movements School of Performing Arts studio on Bridge Road earned high marks across the country in recent months.

Four of their routines won first place at the Star Talent Nationals Dance Competition held in Virginia Beach from July 19 to 22. Three routines earned “National Grand Champion” titles for the petite, mini and junior elite divisions, respectively.

“It was really fun when we all got together on stage and just performed to the best of our abilities,” said Alexis Morrison, 10.

Email newsletter signup

The fourth routine that placed first was carried out by a dozen of the studio’s “Dance Moms,” who were grand champions in the adult category through an energetic hip-hop routine dubbed “Funky Feet.”

“They started at the beginning of the year for fun, but as the year went on they got pretty good,” according to studio owner Kristen Burgess. “Then they ended up winning grand champion at nationals. It’s pretty cool.”

Dance instructor Katie Inman won “Best Choreography” for two routines, one at regionals and the other at nationals. The national recognition came from the junior elite team’s standout performance of “Work-in-Progress.” This piece featured six girls who passed around an empty picture frame as they moved and revealed their true colors, according to Inman.

“Each girl had a color (stripe) hidden inside their costume that signified how everyone has their own path,” Inman said.

It’s not easy to dance to a beat while simultaneously handling a prop.

“Not only do you have to dance with beauty and grace and touch your feet together and smile, but you also can’t drop the prop,” she said.

At regionals, Inman earned her first choreography award with a junior piece called “Oops,” a funny musical theater piece about blaming your mom for passing gas, according to Burgess.

“Everyone loved it,” she said with a laugh.

The accolades didn’t stop in Hampton Roads. Carter Holst, 17, traveled to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Velocity 2018 Season Finale Dance Competition that was held July 14-20. He made the top 10 in the senior male soloist category and was picked up by Velocity Dance to be part of its Maximum Velocity Artists program for more traveling, training and experience to break into the industry.

“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Carter said. “it’s was a big learning experience and a big step for my career.”

Jessica Barbish, 18, joined Carter for the Dance Makers Inc. national competition held June 22-27 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Jessica performed her solo to the song “Lovely” by singer and songwriter Sara Haze.

“It just kind of described my journey from the beginning of the time I was here all the way to my senior year,” Jessica said. She graduated from Western Branch High School in June and is headed to Virginia Tech in the fall to study engineering.

She was grateful for the six years she spent at the Dynamic Movements School.

“It’s just helped me grow as a person and as a dancer. The people I’ve met here have changed my life forever,” she said.

The studio started its 15th season of performance rehearsals and technical classes in June. Burgess and her students practice for more than 10 hours each week to perform at their highest level, and her pride is found in their commitment.

“I’m super impressed at their age how committed and hardworking they are,” she said, with most keeping good grades and their names on their school honor rolls. “They’re just an incredible group of kids who really put all their effort into it.”