Taylor Dance, Ballet Americana earn top recognition

Taylor Dance and Ballet Americana have been named a Mid States Regional Dance America company for the fifth straight year, capturing one of the highest honors a dance company can receive.

Well-known dancer and choreographer Richard Rein adjudicated Taylor’s home dance company in February. Mr. Rein observed Ballet Americana and Taylor Dance classes, judging the works presented to him and ultimately giving them high praise.

Joy Squire, director of Taylor Dance and Ballet Americana, announced the good news.

“We are thrilled to have been chosen for such an honor,” Squire said. “In addition, we have been asked to perform three pieces at this May's Regional Dance America Festival in Indianapolis…The opportunity to perform three pieces is an outstanding honor.”

The works the company will perform include "Salute," with choreography by Leif Lorenz (a pointe piece with red, white and blue tutu costumes); "Sunset Gathering," with choreography by Bill Evans (an ethnic beat with 16 dancers, half modern dance and half tap rhythm); and "My Other Me," with choreography by Lorenz (a contemporary ballet performed barefoot).

Attending dancers are Abby Phillips, Samantha Blackburn, Melissa Surma, Kelsey Kochan, Nicole Brown and Kaitlynn Schuster of Taylor; Courtney Ehred, Stephanie Brooks, Kelly Staricha, Leah Staricha, Elizabeth Kmita and Katie Marcis of Allen Park; Brittney Marek, Mary Mitroka of Grosse Ile; Rachel LePage of Southgate; Alyssa Tanner of Romulus; and Hannah Martin and Stacey Schepens of Lincoln Park.

Mid States Regional Dance America consists of 12 highly acclaimed ballet companies in 13 states. Last year's festival was held in Pittsburgh. Ballet Americana has been chosen to host the festival in 2010, representing the state of Michigan.

In addition to the Midwest honor, Ballet Americana permits interested company dancers to audition for only the most prestigious summer intensive workshops offered by ballet companies and schools.

Five dancers who auditioned for these prestigious schools were accepted: Abby Phillips, who will attend the School of American Ballet in New York this summer (New York City Ballet's program); Courtney Ehred, Samantha Blackburn, Mary Mitroka and Kaitlynn Schuster, who will attend the Joffrey Summer Program in Flint (Joffrey Ballet's program); and Brittney Marek, who has been offered a $500 scholarship to attend Blue Lake's Summer Program.

Taylor Dance and Ballet Americana are based at the Taylor Recreation Center. For more information about Taylor Dance or Ballet Americana call (734) 374-3904 or visit www.balletamericana.org.