Sisters, Local Studio Soar In National Dance Competition

By  //  July 5, 2012

Top Performers

BREVARD COUNTY • INDIALANTIC, FLORIDA – Every team from Heather’s Dance Studio brought home gold or better at the International Dance Challenge in Tampa last week.

Heather's Dance Studio Minis gather in costume before competing at the Straz Center for Performing Arts in Tampa, the site of the International Dance Challenge national contest. (Image courtesy Heather's Dance Studio)

The adult team earned a platinum award, reserved for the very best performances. The senior team, made of up girls ages 13 to 17, earned high gold, the second highest possible honor.

The mini-team, with girls ages seven to 11, also earned high gold and the junior team consisting of girls ages 12 to 16, earned gold, the third highest ranking.

“I’m so proud of all my girls,” said studio director and U.S. and world dance champion Heather Hall-Lobley. “They worked hard and danced with all their hearts, which resulted in wonderful performances that the judges enjoyed and rewarded.”

The senior team was even invited to participate in the grand showcase on June 28, the last day of the competition. Only the judge’s favorite performances are invited to that performance.

Even with a few costume glitches and butterflies in stomachs the girls are thrilled with the experience.

“It was fun,” said Aubrey Jonson, a member of the junior team. “I feel we tried our hardest and no matter what the outcome we gave it all we had, and that counts for a lot.”

The smallest competitors also learned a valuable lesson.

“I remember right before we went on stage, everyone was so nervous, but when we went onstage, it was like nobody was watching us,” said Abigail Johnson, a member of the mini-team. “I felt really confident we’d do awesome, and we did. Hard work does pay off.”

The Heather's Dance Studio mini team reacts to winning "high gold" at the the International Dance Challenge in Tampa last week. (Image courtesy Heather's Dance Studio)

And for the three sisters that were going to nationals for the first time, the event strengthened their relationship.

“It was very exciting and we had a lot of fun,” said Kaia Higginbotham, a member of the junior team. She can’t wait for next year. The sisters will be performing together a large ballet routine the studio is preparing for the next competitive season, which begins in November.

For Mara Higginbotham, who cheered for Kaia and her nine-year-old sister Te’a , it has brought the family closer together.

“We’re closer and now we practice at home together,” Mara said.

Hall-Lobley opened Heather’s Dance Studio in 1998.

The 2003 U.S. and World Theatrical Dance Sport Champion has competed and performed all over the world, on Broadway and has been featured on PBS.

She performed with the Southern Ballet Company and has instructed and judged for NCA and FDI.

Now, the Melbourne native, along with her staff pass on their love, education and expertise in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary, gymnastics and more starting from age 2 through adult. If you drop by you might even see her two young children dancing alongside her.