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Reaching Las Vegas

Dancers are preparing their routines, with lots of costume changes.

January 15, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

Sin City. The City of Lights. A gambler’s paradise.

Las Vegas is many things for many people. But for the students in JK’s Dance Company, Las Vegas means only one thing: dance.

About 70 dancers, ranging in age from 8 to 17, have been practicing 114 numbers, two days a week, for the past four months in anticipation of the Las Vegas Encore Performing Arts regional competition in June.

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The rehearsal room at Revolution Dance studio, owned by Julie Kay Stallcup, was packed Wednesday with students, each wearing the dance company’s red and black uniform, comprising a red JK’s Dance Company logo-emblazoned shirt with black tights.

But before the students travel to the national competition in Las Vegas, they will perform first at Encore’s regional competition, which will be Feb. 12 to 14 in Highlander Auditorium at Upland High School.

“We have massive amounts of costume changes,” Stallcup said, between numbers, of the upcoming performances. “They have about a minute.”

The competitions are unique in that even if a company does poorly, they still advance to the national competitions, said JK Dance Company ballet instructor Rebecca Antolik. Prizes are awarded to the best routines in both competitions.

“Most of them are top students at their schools,” Antolik said. “As well as on the cheerleading team at their school or dance team, in addition to this.”

JK’s Dance Company participates in the Encore competitions every other year, and the company participates in about four other competitions the rest of the year. In 2008, the company won the Division 1 overall trophy at the Encore nationals for the routine “TV Land.”

“The whole group is really good because we’re getting stronger,” said Jessica Fernstrom, 14, a student at L.A. Baptist School in Tujunga.

“If you were to take them tomorrow, they would do great,” Antolik said of the Vegas performance.

Stallcup founded JK’s Dance Company with the goal of instilling the same interest and drive to dance as was instilled in her years ago when she was younger.

“I was on a dance competition company when I was a kid,” Stallcup said. “So it just popped into my mind that I needed to start something like my dance teacher started for me to give back to them.”

JK’s Dance Company started with about 15 to 20 kids when it opened in 1999.

“It keeps them out of trouble, No. 1,” Stallcup said. “It keeps them focused. I just want to keep them focused and involved in something that they are going to be proud of.”

Wilson Middle School student Megan Auyeung, 13, said the Vegas performance will not be her first.

“Knowing that the best of the best are going there, you feel really nervous sometimes,” Megan said. “But after you perform, you feel fine.”


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