Dancers win national honors

Local dancers attend Groove National Dance Competition in Ocean City, Maryland


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  • Photos provided Members of the Zodiacs Dance Academy proudly show some of their trophies from the Groove National Dance Competition held in Ocean City, Maryland last month.




  • The Zodiacs Dance Academy received an additional award from the judges, being named the studio "Inspired by Passion."



The Zodiacs Dance Academy attended the Groove National Dance Competition this July in Ocean City, Maryland.

These young dancers competed against dancers from all over the United States and captured multiple national titles and honors.

The teen group took home the coveted First Overall Teen Large Group for their contemporary performance of “Bridge,” a technical number depicting the strength needed to move on in life and the loving support that allows you to do so given by those who love you.

Other groups that were awarded overall spots were:

“Maverick” a junior small group open which took three awards overall.

Teen small group contemporary “End of the Affair” took the 10th overall spot

“Horses,” a teen large group lyrical took the 6th overall spot.

“Bridge” “End of the Affair” and “Maverick,” all choreographed by Nicole Marie Thessen, were selected to perform in the JAM where only the top performing groups compete again for an added opportunity to win overall awards.

"Bridge" was awarded second place overall teen large group at the JAM. “Maverick” was awarded fourth junior small group, and “End of the Affair” was awarded first overall teen small group at the JAM.

The dancers have also won various top awards for solos and duos:

Ava Schneider took first overall for the teen solo award with her performance of “Bloom.”

Greta Schneider took third overall junior solo for her performance of “Skin.”

Gianna Ramaglia also took third overall petite solo for “North.” This is Gianna’s first year performing with the ZDA Dance Company.

Emily Mizeski was honored with sixth overall teen solo with her performance of “Next to You.”

Brook Carelli snagged the eighth junior overall spot.

Sara Lovely securing the ninth overall spot for teen solo.

Alexis Fearick was honored as second overall teen intermediate soloist.

“Longing” teen duet performed by Emily Mizeski and Greta Schneider took the second overall spot.

Senior duet performed by Ava Schneider and Samantha Fea took seventh overall spot.

It was a very exciting week for the ZDA competition team topped off with a special honor by the judges being named the studio that was “Inspired by Passion.” Studio director Stacy Lambe proudly accepted the award on behalf of the studio,

“Passion is why we teach and passion is why we dance and for our students to be recognized for their passion is the best gift a teacher could get,” said Lambe.

The studio was recognized for several special judge’s awards and honors.

“These dancers work so incredibly hard and support each other like nothing I have ever seen," said Nicole Marie Thessen, speaking about her students. "I am so proud of them and excited to see what next season has in store for us. They just keep getting better and better.”

The Zodiacs Dance Academy offers a comprehensive program with qualified instructors for recreational and competitive dancers. To find out more about ZDA, call 973-409-4119, follow them on Instagram at @zodiacsdanceacademy, go to their website at zodiacsdance.com or stop into the studio at 209 Oak Ridge Road, Oak Ridge.

ZDA is now accepting enrollment for summer and fall programs. They offer a comprehensive program with qualified caring instructors for recreational and competitive dancers.

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