Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guest Blogger: Ellen

Please welcome Ellen, my 11 year old god daughter, as today's guest blogger.  

2 Families + 1 Vacation = Lots of  Memories

Earlier this month I spent ten days in southern Florida with my mom, dad, brother and sister (my real family) and also with my dance family.  We all met at the beautiful Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood Beach, Florida for the American Dance Awards Nationals.  The hotel is located on the beach with awesome pools and a clear blue ocean.  Because my mom is the owner of our dance school our hotel room got upgraded to a huge corner suite with a living room, dining room, and large bedroom and bathroom.  The best part of the suite is that it had two walls made of glass with a wrap around balcony that overlooked the pools and the ocean.  If you turned the corner of the balcony, our room was just at the right angle to see the city too.

Although the hotel and all of its surroundings are breathtaking, the best part of the trip was being there to perform with my friends.  Seventy dancers from my dance studio were all there too!  How many eleven year olds get to go on a tropical vacation with all of their closest friends?  We call ourselves a ‘dance family’ because we are growing up together.  I am best friends with the dancers my age, but I am also very close to the older dancers.  They look out for us and set examples for us to follow.  My friends and I see what amazing dancers they are and how hard they work.  We all hope to dance like them someday.

Besides swimming in the pools, building sandcastles on the beach and having parties in each other’s rooms, the highlight of the trip was the dancing.  In addition to performing for the judges, we also got to take master classes from some of the best teachers in the business.  I have been lucky enough to take classes from movie, TV, and Broadway Stars.  Many times the dancers beside me have even performed in Broadway shows like Billy Elliot and Annie.  Schools from all over the US, Canada and even South Africa were there.

At the end of the regular competition, the judges decide which dances make the Dance Off.  I was hoping for at least one of all of my ten routines to make it, but I was thrilled when they announced that two had made it!  The next day we all performed our hardest in front of new judges at the Dance Off.

Finally it came time for the Awards Gala.  This is when all dancers, teachers and parents get all dressed up to find out who won. 

The American Dance Awards Gala is like the Academy Awards.  If you are one of the top scoring routines from the Dance Off then you are ‘Nominated’ and part of your routine plays on the big screens.  At last they started to announce the nominees.  My friends and I all held hands with high hopes.  When they called both of our dances I was shocked!  I felt so proud to see our hard work pay off as our routines played up on the big screen.  After the nominees were announced the audience settled down to hear the final results.  My friends and I squeezed each other’s hands even tighter.  My friends and I had never placed at the Dance Off before.  American Dance Awards is called the Ultimate Challenge because it attracts the most elite talent in the world.  And then it happened, we got 3rd Place!  We couldn’t believe it!  We were all screaming!  Our reactions were even being filmed on the big screens!  We all beamed as the photographers took our picture with the huge trophy. 

 The rest of the gala is a blur.  None of us stopped smiling the whole night.  We felt like movie stars ourselves as all of our parents took pictures after the gala was over.  My friends and I had one thing on our mind.  We wanted to celebrate our victory with a late night swim in the pool!


I will never forget that Nationals, spent in such a beautiful place, with my family and my dance family.  I feel so fortunate to have people at home and at dance that I can count on.  I have already started to dream about next year’s Nationals which will be held in New York City.  I am sure that there will be more fun and more memories to be made!

There are Shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.
 – Vicki Baum


Rachel said...

Beautiful job Miss Ellen and congratulations to you and your dance friends,quite an accomplishment!

Beth said...

Ellen, I really enjoyed reading about your trip! I especially liked how descriptive you were - I could picture everything. Not only are you a fabulous dancer, but you are an excellent writer as well! Congratulations!