Dance Families Make Run At National Title
By Zenaida Kotala // June 25, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY • INDIALANTIC, FLORIDA – All four dance competition teams from Heather’s Dance Studio will be competing for national titles at the International Dance Challenge in Tampa June 24-28 – and it includes at least two dance families.
The teams qualified at state competitions earlier this year by earning Gold or Platinum ranking.
“It’s a great opportunity for the teams, and I am so proud of them all,” said Heather Hall-Lobley, studio director, and U.S. and world dance champion. “They are a fun, dedicated group that loves to dance. Even my mini-team has shined this year, and after only competing since last fall.”
For the past 13 years, Hall-Lobley has owned and directed Heather’s Dance Studio where she shares her expertise in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, gymnastics and ballroom starting from age two through adult, including competitive levels.
A 2003 U.S. and World Theatrical Dance Sport Champion, she has competed and performed all over the world, on Broadway and has been featured on PBS. Hall-Lobley performed with the Southern Ballet Company and has instructed and judged for NCA and FDI.
Mini, Junior & Senior Teams
• The mini-team consists of seven girls, ages seven to 11. They began dancing together in August and qualified for nationals in April.
• The junior team consists of girls, ages 12 to 16, many of whom have been dancing for three or more years.
• The senior team includes girls, ages 13 to 17 and the adult team includes about half the instructors from the studio who have been dancing for 4 years altogether. Some were even students before becoming instructors.
It’s the first year all teams have accepted their invitations to nationals. And for some this year will be extra special because it will be a family affair.
“I am sooo, excited,” said nine-year-old Te’a Higginbotham, a member of the mini-team. “It’s amazing we made it cause we’re really just starting out.”
She should know as she’s been watching her two older sisters, Mara and Kaia Higginbotham, compete for the past few years. But this is their first national competition as well.
Lily Velie, also a member of the mini-team, will be enjoying the weeklong event with her aunt Lindsey Bourland, an instructor and member of the adult team.
“It makes it extra special for me,” said the 11-year-old.
“I’m so excited at the opportunity to compete at a nationals and to see how other girls dance so I can get better too.”
Warm, Safe Environment
The studio creates a warm, safe environment drawing students from Sebastian to Suntree and everywhere in between.
The girls attend public and private schools throughout the county and are involved in an array of other activities from soccer and swimming to piano and art.
The girls all share a love of dance and their studio.
“Ms. Heather is the sweetest person you will ever meet and all the staff members are wonderful,” said 13-year-old Alexis Boyer, who dances for the junior and senior teams.
“They work hard to help you learn and get better. We all work so well together and it is so much fun.”
The girls will be performing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a range of routines from contemporary dance to ballet and jazz.
“It is such a great honor,” said nine-year-old Abigail Johnson, a member of the mini-team. “Only the best get to go. I can’t wait to see how we all do.”
Even if all the teams don’t bring home gold, they won’t be discouraged, said senior team-member Kaia Higginbotham, who will be watching her younger sisters compete also.
“I dance because it’s an amazing beautiful sport and I feel absolutely free from the world when I dance,” said the 16-year-old Melbourne High School student.
“No matter what, you have to give 110 percent every time you dance, because you’ll never get better if you don’t put your heart and soul into your dancing. I think that’s why we all dance here. There’s heart here.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPETITION: InternationalDanceChallenge.net
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTHER’S DANCE STUDIO log on to HeathersDanceStudio.com or call 321-725-0205.