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9:16 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Local dance troupe prepares for national competition

The Daily Courier/Jo. L. Keener
<br>Aubrey Eriksen, front left, leads the dance group RhythMotion through a practice Friday in Prescott. The dancers from Prescott will take part in National competition in Las Vegas next month.

The Daily Courier/Jo. L. Keener <br>Aubrey Eriksen, front left, leads the dance group RhythMotion through a practice Friday in Prescott. The dancers from Prescott will take part in National competition in Las Vegas next month.

PRESCOTT - Local dance students are heading to Las Vegas for a trip they might never forget.

Donna Casey, artistic director of Prescott's The Dance Studio, will take 18 dancers from the studio to Las Vegas July 8 through July 14 for the Kids Artistic Revue national competition.

Casey said it is the first time she is taking the studio's RhythMotion dance troupe to a national competition, this one scheduled at the Flamingo Hilton on the Las Vegas strip.

Casey, the owner and teacher at the studio for 12 years said the students have studied at the school for six to 10 years and have reached a level to compete nationally.

"They're very talented kids," she said.

The students qualified in the regional competition in Phoenix this past November, one of four to six competitions the troupe enters each year, she added.

"All of the numbers we took to the regionals qualified," said Leslie France, the president of the RhythMotion Parent Association.

France added that most of the students have spent 10 to 15 hours a week at the studio this month honing their numbers for the competition.

The students, ages 9 to 18, will compete solo, in duos, or in group numbers in the disciplines of tap, jazz, lyrical (combination of ballet and jazz), musical theater and modern/contemporary dance.

"The cool thing is, they're not just going to compete, they're going to making friends from all over the country and learning new things," Casey said.

"I'm looking forward to meeting new people, seeing different choreography and costume styles," said Aubrey Eriksen, 16, a student at the studio for about nine years who is planning to enroll in the dance program at the University of Arizona and pursue dance professionally.

Eriksen said she will compete in the group categories of lyrical, jazz and hip-hop, and will compete solo in lyrical and musical theater.

"I'm excited because its in Vegas," said Katie Boggs, 14.

Boggs said she has 11 years of dancing experience and is one of the school's students performing in an end-of-the-week showcase with students from other studios in the region.

Some of the learning experience will involve a good deal of fun as well.

One evening, the kids will attend the Cirque du Soleil show "La Reve," with the opportunity to meet the performers, visit Planet Hollywood, and spend some time hanging out by the pool, Casey said.

Contact the reporter at lmclain@prescottaz.com