Dancers participate in elite competition

Published 4:58 pm Friday, January 28, 2022

Two young Suffolk dancers participated in the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition against dancers from across the country and around the world.

Hannah Paige, 15, and Reagan Hammond, 16, are two high school students who take dance classes at Dynamic Movements School of Performing Arts located in the Bennett’s Creek Shopping Center on Bridge Road. The girls competed at the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition from Jan. 26-30 in Atlanta, Ga.

“I’m so excited and can’t wait to perform and compete,” said Hannah. “I am a mix of nervous and excited to see the dancers and have the exposure.”

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Hannah is a sophomore at Churchland High School in Chesapeake and in her second year of Governor’s School for the Arts. She has danced since she was 2 years old but has only done ballet for the past seven years. Hannah performed in both the classical and the contemporary category, which is her first time doing so.

“This is a step out of the box for me,” said Hannah.

Reagan is a junior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy who has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She performed only in the classical category to “Aurora Variation” from Act II of “Sleeping Beauty.”

“I am very excited and very grateful to be able to go,” said Reagan. “I went last year, but I feel more prepared this year. It’s a good opportunity to show how I’ve learned and grown since last year.”

This competition takes place all over the world as young dancers compete for scholarships, job opportunities and recognition at an international level. The girls had the chance to dance in front of a panel of judges made up of teachers and professionals. After the competition, these judges teach a masterclass to help the students perfect their dancing.

Both girls put together their solo routines with the help of Shomaree Potter, the ballet director in Dynamic Movement’s Pre-Professional Ballet Company. Potter selected the girls to compete based on their technique, execution, musicality, coordination and artistry.

“I’m excited to perform and show what I can do,” said Reagan. “I’ve not been able to perform like normal because of COVID-19 and many theaters not open. So I’m very excited to perform again and do what I do.”