Dance academy

The Marietta Dance Academy rocked the Nationals!

MARIETTA, OH – The Marietta Dance Academy just returned from an incredible performance at the Nationals. They have won three national champion awards and placed high in a number of categories.

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Jill Ruff is the owner of Marietta Dance Academy and an instructor. She said she, Courtney Griffiths and Morgan Stanley helped the girls prepare for the competition. There were 22 girls from the Mid-Ohio Valley who made the nearly 8-hour trip to the Starpower National Championship in Ocean City, Maryland last week. Due to COVID-19, Ruff has focused on trios, duets, and solo dances.

“So fewer dancers would need to come together for each rehearsal.”

The girls work hard, but Marietta Dance Academy tries to maintain a healthy balance between work, team spirit and fun.

“We say dance friends make the best friends and it’s really true for the cast members who have been dancing together since they were three years old.”

The girls qualified for the Starpower Nationals in March at the regional competition held in Charleston. They helped fundraise at events throughout the Year of Dance to help cover the cost of Nationals. Ruff said he received a lot of support from the community.

“There’s also the wider community who support our fundraising efforts by buying raffle tickets, bath bombs and pizza. Many may never see a dance, but believe there should be opportunity to pursue their passion.”

This year’s Starpower Nationals featured 50 studios, 1,400 acts and 1,200 dancers. Most of the other girls are in big city dance groups. Three dance groups from Marietta Dance Academy reached the final. All three ranked in the top three, they picked up two second places and one third place. Ruff said it was exciting for the dancers to share the stage with nationally renowned studios like TKO from Queens, New York.

“We are very proud of our dancers and their determination. Especially in the battle, which was very intense and intimidating. Our girls were pros!”

Ruff said winning is good, but that’s not all. That what really matters is having the opportunity to dance together. She teaches her daughters that they don’t learn by winning every time. And win or lose, the dance continues.

“Either we win or we learn.”

Ruff said nationals are always bittersweet because it will be the last time graduating seniors can dance with the team. Two of the 18-year-old graduates have been dancing with Ruff for 15 years.

Ruff wanted people to know that they do their best to give back to the community, usually performing at events like First Friday and other organizations that call them in for entertainment. She said the only reason they missed the Christmas parade in July was because it conflicted with their national championship schedule.

Competitive dance choreography for next season begins in a few weeks for Marietta Dance Academy.

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