Cutting Edge Dance Studio attended their national tournament June 27 — July 2 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Owner and director Jennifer Carlile took 22 dancers who performed 35 routines at the tournament.

“Every year we qualify, but we go every two years, so it’s kind of a big deal,” Carlile said. “They had classes the whole month of June, really intense… We brought in two instructors, one from Vegas and one from Salt Lake City, who helped us better prepare.”

Dancers completed 17 hours of boot camp at the beginning of June, which included running, stretching, plyometrics, Pilates, yoga, ballet technique, tap technique and more, Carlile said. The troop then spent an average of 20 additional hours on routines — plus they put in work outside the studio. The focused schedule paid off for the dance studio, with many girls performing well at nationals.

MaKenna Sparks won the Entertainment Award for the junior soloists category with her performance, “Mony, Mony.” In the Future Gems category, Madison Sparks placed fifth overall with her solo, “Can’t Sleep Love.” Cammy Heck placed sixth overall in the Elite Gems category for “Sunday Finest,” as well as earning an Entertainment Award and Director’s Choice.

“There were three routines that called back to compete for the finals in the extravaganza,” Carlile said.

Those three performances were, “Sobbin’ Blues,” “Turned Up,” and “Dancing in the Rain.” Carlile scored her own choreographer award for the “Dancing in the Rain” tap performance.

During nationals, an extra performance is held called Spotlight Elite, which can be qualified for by soloists placing in the top 10 at regional tournaments. For Cutting Edge, dancers who qualified were Gracie Hentges, Emma Doty, Cammy Heck, MaKenna Sparks, Emma McPherson and Brielle Gorder. They had rehearsals every day led by Johanna Spakie and then performed routines in the Extravaganza.

“The main instructor was a Cirque du Soleil dancer. She works with J.Lo. She’s really famous in the dance world,” Carlile said. “The girls got to take classes with this lady, learn a routine and then perform it on the stage at the end.”

Carlile said after all the work they did in June, it was gratifying to see her dancers perform well at nationals.

“I did tear up a couple times,” she said. “I was proud of them because that whole month of June was intense. It was really, really hard.”

She said the schedule this summer was tough and dancers rose to the challenge.

“It’s amazing how much they improved. The month of June won’t only benefit just the routines who went to nationals. It will benefit them as dancers in the long run.”

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