GALION – A local dance studio wowed the judges and walked away with top honors at a major dance competition in Galveston, Texas.
Competitive dancers from the Eagle Dance Center, 110 Harding Way West, won a total of 26 awards in “Showstopper,” one of the nation’s largest dance competitions, during the four-day event in July.
“It was almost surreal; honestly, the whole week we were there,” said Anna Matney, who officially took over as owner and director of the studio on June 1. “I was delighted. It was pride, honestly. It was definitely a good week for us.
Eagle Dance Center beat dozens of other dance studios nationwide by winning two double platinum awards, 21 platinum awards, and three gold awards on the Gulf Coast Finals show.
The group won first place for their number “Scooby Mi Pa Pa” in the Teen Performance Large category and placed second in the same category for “Rain on Me”. They also won in the Senior Performance Small category for the “Die For” routine.
Kira Metzger, Emma Shaffer and Olivia Bower took third, fifth and seventh place respectively for their solo performances. In duos and trios, the team won five awards dancing to “Already Gone”, “When I Look at You”, “I’ll Be There”, “That’s My Girl” and “Please, Mr. Jailer” .
Emma Shaffer and Olivia Bower finished second for their “That’s My Girl” routine, while Shaffer, Bower and Sydney Eckert finished third for “Already Gone.” Fourth place went to the duo of Bower and Carly Kent, who danced to “When I Look at You.”
Isabelle Pohlabel and Adalie Flick, who performed on “Please Mr. Jailer,” placed sixth overall for their duet. To complete the general classification, Autumn Miller and Alexis Cawrse, ninth, won their duet “I’ll Be There”.
A first place trophy for “Scooby Mi Pa Pa” went to dancers Jillian Hart, Carly Kent, Isabelle Pohlabel, Kira Metzger, Autumn Miller, Melanie Wheeler, Sydney Eckert, Ava Stowers, Adalie Flick, Emma Shaffer, Olivia Bower, Alexis Cawrse, and Grace Sparks.
Another trophy for the premiere was awarded to the dancers participating in the “Die For” routine – Sydney Eckert, Olivia Bower, Emma Shaffer, Melanie Wheeler, Kira Metzger, Jillian Hart, Carly Kent and Alexis Dure.
Melanie Wheeler, Isabelle Pohlabel, Carly Kent, Alexis Dure, Ryleigh Pickering, Alexis Cawrse, Trinity Doyle, Grace Sparks, Ava Stowers and Raegan Welch placed second for “Rain on Me”. Fourth place went to members of “Got You” – Olivia Bower, Sydney Eckert, Melanie Wheeler, Isabelle Pohlabel, Carly Kent and Alexis Dure.
As a surprise, Matney said, the studio’s longtime owner and founder, Shannon Eagle of Galleon, also showed up at the competition to offer support and encouragement to him and the team. Eagle announced his retirement earlier this year.
Matney, a center dancer since she was three, said Eagle was her coach and mentor.
“My whole life has been around dancing.
I’ve done it my whole life, but not to this extent, to reverse things and not be on stage.
The downtown studio has grown significantly over the years, Matney said, and now has 23 competitive dancers and another 100 girls enrolled in the program, ages 3 to 18.
The dancers, she said, hail from Crawford and surrounding counties.
The 2021 Competitive Team also includes Jillian Hart, Kendall Kronick, Maelyn Webb, Kaitlyn Tanner, Maria Wegesin and Katelyn McMullen. Matney’s staff members are Taylor Eagle, Kennedy Thompson, Tiffeny Bowersock and Keaton Durbin.
Matney, a Galion native and a graduate of Galion High School, said she was thrilled to take over the dance center, especially since it’s her home studio. “Honestly, I’m just super excited to be putting down roots in Galion, County Crawford where I grew up.”