GALION — For the students and staff of Eagle Dance Center in Galion, dance is more than just a pastime, it’s a passion and a positive way of expressing what’s in their hearts that words simply aren’t adequate to convey.
The members of the 2021 Eagle Dance Center Competition Team let their passion and positive expression shine July 12-15 at the Showstoppers Gulf Coast Finals national competition held in Galveston, Texas. Eagle Dance Center received two double platinum award adjudications, 21 platinum award adjudications, and three gold award adjudications.
Anna Matney, new director of Eagle Dance Center and a lifelong student there, praised the students for their commitment to excellence.
“This group of kids is one of the hardest working groups of kids we’ve ever had,” Matney said. “These kids are dedicated — I mean dedicated. They started last July. It was an 11-month process of getting ready for it. It was rewarding for us as a staff to take them down there and watch them do everything they’ve worked on for the last 11 or 12 months. They were in their element, they were really were.”
The 2021 Eagle Dance Center Competition Team is comprised of Sydney Eckert, Olivia Bower, Emma Shaffer, Melanie Wheeler, Kira Metzger, Isabelle Pohlabel, Jillian Hart, Carly Kent, Autumn Miller, Alexis Dure, Trinity Doyle, Grace Sparks, Adalie Flick, Ava Stowers, Kendall Kronick, Alexis Cawrse, Maelyn Webb, Kaitlyn Tanner, Ryleigh Pickering, Maria Wegesin, Raegan Welch, and Katelyn McMullen.
The 2021 Eagle Dance Center Competition Team staff includes Matney, Shannon Eagle, Taylor Eagle, Kennedy Thompson, and Tiffeny Bowersock.
Emma Shaffer, age 18, has been a student at Eagle Dance Center for 16 years. She placed fifth in the senior performance solo event at the competition in Texas.
“It was so much fun,” said Shaffer, who is a 2021 graduate of Ontario High School. “There were so many different studios from all over the country. Just girls everywhere in their costumes. It was awesome just waiting backstage and then we’d go on stage and perform. Seeing all of our family and friends in the audience was really nice because we had a lot of support down there in Texas. And then everyone, our teammates, were waiting for us when we came off stage and gave us big hugs. It was just an experience I’ll never forget.”
Kira Metzger, age 17, has been dancing at Eagle for 14 years. She finished third in the senior performance solo competition.
“It was incredible,” said Metzger, who is from Shelby and attends Pioneer Career and Technology Center. “I loved being able to perform and then see how other studios interpret the art of dance. It’s also amazing to get feedback on skills that I’ve been working on for a year. … I was so ecstatic to find out that both of the groups I was in (Teen Performance Large and Senior Performance Small) got to be first overall in the categories.
“The bond that we created as a team was almost like a family bond. Just through the art of dance. It was crazy that we were able to do that.”
Autumn Miller, age 13, has been a student at Eagle Dance Center for 10 years. The Galion Intermediate School student said dance provides a creative way for her to express herself.
“I enjoy being able to express emotions that I wouldn’t be able to express through words,” Miller said. “Really touching the audience.”
Miller said the experience at the national competition is something she won’t forget.
“It was really fun and we got to bond as a team and it was very special,” Miller said. “I think that is a memory that we’ll all get to cherish.”
Carly Kent, age 13, has been dancing at Eagle for 11 years. She described the team’s time in Texas as “awesome.”
“I feel like it was a great bonding experience for our whole team,” said Kent, who is a student at Galion Middle School. “Just having that last dance with our seniors was very special because we have a strong connection with them.”
Kent said the team’s journey to the national competition was her favorite aspect of the entire experience over the past year.
“Just trying our best to get to nationals was the best part, and we did amazing there, so it all worked out,” Kent said.
Following is a listing of all the honors the Eagle Dance Center team earned at the Showstoppers event:
Overall Award Placements (Solos)
• Kira Metzger — 3rd Place, Senior Performance Solo
• Emma Shaffer — 5th Place, Senior Performance Solo
• Olivia Bower — 7th Place, Senior Performance Solo
Overall Award Placements (Duets/Trios)
• 3rd Place, Senior Performance Duet/Trio — Olivia Bower, Sydney Eckert, Emma Shaffer
• 4th Place, Senior Performance Duet/Trio — Olivia Bower, Carly Kent
• 9th Place, Teen Performance Duet/Trio — Autumn Miller, Alexis Cawrse
• 2nd Place, Senior Performance Duet/Trio — Emma Shaffer, Olivia Bower
• 6th Place, Teen Performance Duet/Trio — Isabelle Pohlabel, Adalie Flick
Overall Award Placements (Groups)
• 1st Place, Teen Performance Large — Jillian Hart, Carly Kent, Isabelle Pohlabel, Kira Metzger, Autumn Miller, Melanie Wheeler, Sydney Eckert, Ava Stowers, Adalie Flick, Emma Shaffer, Olivia Bower, Alexis Cawrse, Grace Sparks
• 1st Place, Senior Performance Small — Sydney Eckert, Olivia Bower, Emma Shaffer, Melanie Wheeler, Kira Metzger, Jillian Hart, Carly Kent, Alexis Dure
• 2nd Place, Teen Performance Large — Melanie Wheeler, Isabelle Pohlabel, Carly Kent, Alexis Dure, Ryleigh Pickering, Alexis Cawrse, Trinity Doyle, Grace Sparks, Ava Stowers, Raegan Welch
• 4th Place, Senior Performance Small — Olivia Bower, Sydney Eckert, Melanie Wheeler, Isabelle Pohlabel, Carly Kent, Alexis Dure
For information about Eagle Dance Center, go to the website www.eagledancecenter.com, visit the Facebook page, or call 419-210-4153.