Dance Company Earns Superior Award at UDEO High School Dance Festival


Dance Company was adjudicated at the Utah Dance Education Organization’s High School Dance Festival in St. George. The company earned a superior rating on both of their dances created by student artistic directors. The festival is not a competition, but instead an opportunity for dancers to take routines to be adjudicated by college professors of dance. Each dance is given a rating of commendable, good, excellent, or superior, with superior being the best.


Dance Company was adjudicated on two student works, those being A Letter Home choreographed by senior, Ashlyn Edwards, and Girl in the Mirror choreographed by senior, Hadilee Iverson.


“I created Girl in the Mirror to represent the idea of comparing yourself to others, in the dance a girl dances with her reflection, they meet at the mirror, and when the girl feels down her reflection lifts her up,” said Iverson. “Throughout the piece, the reflection escapes the mirror and dances side by side with the girl having the confidence to be her true self.”


The festival was held on Friday, March 10th, and Saturday, March 11th. That Friday evening the dance company along with the other dance companies in the state attended a performance of five modern dances by the St. George Dance Company which is a professional project-based group. After which, four company members were able to take a master class taught by collegiate professors with the opportunity to receive scholarships in the pursuit of dance education and summer intensive workshops.


“I created A Letter Home when my brother was considering joining the Marine Corps, while I respected his decision I couldn’t imagine life without my best friend, I created the piece to honor all those who have served,” said Edwards. “During the dance, a letter travels through the soldiers to a loved one and this represents that last letter home for those who would give the ultimate sacrifice.”


That Saturday, the dance company participated in workshops on the Utah Tech campus taught by professional dancers Joe Blake, Adeena Lago, and other collegiate professors. During adjudication, the company presented their performances to professors from Brigham Young and Wyoming Universities afterward Iverson and Edwards shared the meaning of their works. At the close of the festival, the company performed for the gala concert, presenting A Letter Home at the Dolores Eckles Fine Arts Center.


At the events closing Iverson received the UDEO outstanding dancer award with Edwards and junior company member Nikki Dong being named as scholarship winners. The company received superior ratings in both choreography and performance.


“I’m extremely proud of the entire company, I have been so impressed by their technical skill, dedication to one another, and their abilities to create meaning through movement,” said Alexis Leonelli, dance company coach. “It takes a lot of courage to create a dance that has an emotional connection to the choreographer and that’s exactly what Ashlyn and Hadilee did, and one of the reasons I believe they received superior for their choreography because you can feel the meaning of their dance. It’s been a privilege to watch them all grow.”


Dance Company now looks forward to their concert on Tuesday, May 2nd which will be held in the auditorium at 7:30 pm.