Dream Makers dancers headed to nationals

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dream Makers Dance Studio’s students perform at Columbiana’s Liberty Day. (Contributed)

Dream Makers Dance Studio’s students perform at Columbiana’s Liberty Day. (Contributed)

 By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

After impressive performances at Columbiana’s Liberty Day, the dancers of Dream Makers Dance Studios are preparing for an even larger feat: The Inspire National Dance Competition in Savannah, Ga.

Dream Makers has three locations in Shelby, Wilsonville and Columbiana, and 11 of the girls earned high enough scores to attend the national contest.

“We are in here with nothing, we have nothing,” said Jenny Lespi, founder and director of the Columbiana branch. “For us to win when we have nothing, it says so much about their fire and passion.”

While Lespi said the girls have been invited to competitions like this before, they’ve never had the money to travel. Having 11 girls qualify changed things, Lespi said, and the girls are preparing for the trip.

Shea Brown, Alyssa Mondragon, Gracie Driskell, Emma C., Ashlynn Smith, Mallory Padgett, Emily Horton, Kinzie McDonald, Hannah Patterson, Gracie Hockman and Mackenzie Hallmark plan to make the trip July 13-16.

“We actually ended up all scoring high enough to go,” Brown said. “We’ve got a good group of people coming. Everything we do is always a lot of fun. We are pretty much like family.”

Brown has been dancing for about 16 years. The 19-year-old plans to attend the University of Montevallo in the fall and currently runs the Wilsonville branch of the dance studio.

Five girls were also named All Stars, which means they will perform in an opening number. Brown, Driskell, Padgett, Patterson and Hockman qualified for the All Star title.

“I enjoy being with everyone because we are all like a family,” Driskell said. “I love being around Ms. Les (Lespi) because she gives off a positive feedback. When you are dancing you want to have that positive feedback because you want to enjoy your dancing.”

Driskell is 15 years old and currently attends Shelby County High School. She also was one of three dancers to win a scholarship for a dance camp in New York City.

Brown, Ann Marie Yednak and Hannah Wallace also won the scholarship.

“These girls nurture me, they bring nourishment to me,” Lespi said. “They tell stories. I’m just a writer, I wrote stories and they tell them on the floor from their heart. It’s like we are just in tune with each other.”

For more information about Dream Makers Dance Studios, visit Facebook.com/Dream-Makers-Dance-194831260572911.