Just Dance! is committed to progress. And traveling from South Carolina to the west coast for a dance convention is certainly outside the comfort zone.
Leilah and Lana Baird proved they have what it takes. They traveled with Just Dance! Co-director Lindsey Gentry to New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) Regionals in Los Angeles where Lana was named the top overall junior soloist and Leila finished ninth overall. See the list of winners.
“It was a pretty cool moment to be from South Carolina and hear your dancer announced in first place,” Ms. Lindsey says. “Los Angeles is an incredible dance city and the studios here were unreal. Leilah and Lana’s success really says a lot about our training.”
During convention auditions, Lana was one of two females named Junior Outstanding Dancer and Leila won Junior Outstanding Dancer Runner-up. See the list of winners. Both receive full tuition to NYCDA National Finals 2017 and the chance to compete for the National Title. Lana also received a full-year scholarship to any NYCDA regional for the entire season.
Dance Convention Scholarships
It’s really scholarships that drive these opportunities. A select number of scholarships are awarded to dancers at each convention out of the hundreds in attendance. When a dancer receives a scholarship, it is the convention faculty saying they see promise in that dancer and want to see more.
Last year when Just Dance! attended NYCDA Greenville (N.C.), Lana won Junior Outstanding Dancer and Leilah won a regional scholarship. As they were considering where to use their scholarships, their mom suggested going to the west coast and Ms. Lindsey agreed.
“We mainly travel along the east coast, so we see many of the same dancers over and over. It’s cool to experience being in a city and not knowing anyone in the room. You have no idea the abilities of other dancers or what their studios are known for. Plus I wanted them to do something really hard and be challenged.”
Just Dance! typically attends two conventions per year. In 2017, the companies will attend Revive Dance Convention Charleston and NYCDA Greenville (N.C.). But, Ms. Lindsey often travels with Just Dance! company members who have earned scholarships and want to attend additional events. In the past couple years, Just Dancers have gone to Orlando, Atlanta, New York City, Charlotte and more.
“We’re committed to giving dancers opportunities. We will do what we can to ensure they are able to get a wide variety of experiences and make the most of their training. In the past we’ve taken groups of dancers age 13 and older to Los Angeles to train and I could certainly see us doing that again. It’s how dancers get exposure and if our students want to be professional dancers, we will help them get there.”