Local dancers receive national recognition

All six Dream Makers Dance students students who competed in the national dance competition in Gatlinburg, Tenn. came home with first place wins. (Contributed)

All six Dream Makers Dance students students who competed in the national dance competition in Gatlinburg, Tenn. came home with first place wins. (Contributed)

By GINNY COOPER/Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—Six local dance students from Dream Makers dance studio participated in a national dance competition in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and all won first place in their category.

Dream Makers Dance is a community education program, contracted through the Shelby County Board of Education, which provides dance education to students from nine different schools.

“These girls have passion, commitment and a desire to win. They just have a joy for dance,” Jenny Lespi, program director and dance teacher, said of the students.

Lespi was unable to travel to the competition due to work, but said the students immediately started sent her pictures and texts when they won.

“They started texting me and sending me pictures. They just had so much excitement and joy,” Lespi said.

The state winners were announced in October, and students with a first place win at the state level were invited to the national competition in March. Though 22 Dream Makers Dance students qualified, six girls made the trip, and all came back with first place wins, Lespi said.

Hannah Wallace won first place in the senior soloist division; Gracie Driskell, Hannah Wallace and AnnMarie Yednak won first place in the senior trio division; Ava Barco and Addison Edwards won first place in the petite duo division; and Kaylee Veazey won first place in the elementary solo division.

“What makes them winners comes from within,” Lespi said. “We’re really proud of them.”