B'ville: On the road to Nationals

Students at Always Dancing! are making a name for themselves.

The Baldwinsville dance facility's competition team was recently awarded a platinum medal, first place trophy, first place high score and the X-Calibur Award during the DanceXplosion Talent Tour at the Oncenter. The group was also recognized with a special "You Got Served" award.

The Always Dancing! competition team is hoping to make their first trip to Nationals this July in Wildwood, N.J. The Nationals are a weeklong event held in the summer where various studios from around the country compete against one another.

"If you compare it to the NCAA tournament, we're trying to get to the Final Four," said Pamela LaPage, artistic director and owner of Always Dancing!. "Each dance competition that we attend is a regional where you can qualify for the national competition. This would be our first trip to Nationals and the kids are really excited."

While hard work and talent are keys to the team's success, the students also need the support of the community.

"It will take quite a bit of money and hard work for us to get to New Jersey in July. By getting the word out about the team and their accomplishments, we're hoping to gain some community support in this effort," LaPage said.

With approximately 135 students, the Always Dancing! studio opened July 1, 2007 as a homage to LaPage's mentor, Susan Alvarez Hughes, who died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2005.

"[Hughes] is the one that got me to fall in love with the art of dance and with teaching. She showed me that I can make a difference in a child's life just like she did in mine," LaPage said. "When I got the opportunity to open a studio, I thought, here is my chance to keep Susan's memory alive and to have a place where the kids could feel at home just as I did in my childhood studio."

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