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Grayling dancers score big at competition

WALLED LAKE – Fourteen dancers, their families, and their coach, Jillian Tremonti Engelhardt, traveled to Walled Lake for Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, and are returning with regional awards and national accolades.


The performers are a division of AuSable Dance Center, located in the heart of Grayling, who spend 4-8 hours a week training, rehearsing, and preparing for performances and competitions throughout the state and country. 

–  The competitive team’s recent trip proved to be a new challenge, with 16 other dance studios and 500+ fellow competitors in in attendance, keeping competition intense. The local dancers rose beautifully to the occasion, coming home with their hands full of hardware. 

The 14-person team includes students from around Grayling and Roscommon, with ages ranging from 7-18. They performed 18 pieces, all choreographed by Jillian Tremonti Engelhardt, with some being co-choreographed by the students themselves. Team members include: 

Emily Barlick of Grayling, 15; Lexi D’Amour of Grayling, 13; Jade Dandy of Grayling, 15; Juniper Dideriksen of Grayling, 10; Kyra Emmons of Grayling, 10; Gabby Helinski of Grayling, 13; Holly Holcomb of Grayling, 14; Sarah Holcomb of Grayling, 18; Lily Huck of Roscommon, 7; Allyson Johnson of Grayling, 14; Emma Kucharek of Grayling, 9; Emma Lalond of Grayling, 16; Addison Schreiner of Grayling, 9; Molly Wright of Grayling, 10.

Highlights from the event include:

– S. Holcomb, Lalond, Helinski, and Johnson being invited to participate in a national performance program, opening for Hall of Fame’s national dance challenge in various locations throughout the summer;

– “Problem’ with Emmons, Schreiner, and Wright receiving the judge’s award called “Work It Out”, recognizing their hard work and determination to make their dance sparkle and shine;

– Helinski and S. Holcomb winning “Best in Category” awards, acknowledging their accomplishment at a regional level;

– “Yellow”, a contemporary dance featuring hand-dyed and hand-sewn costumes receiving a Costume Award;

– A contemporary piece featuring the younger dancers called “Home” receiving the Showmanship Award; 7 of 18 dances receiving First Place in age and Category competitions;

– Dandy receiving the “Fabulous Focus” award for her solo performance;

– Jazz trio with Dandy, Johnson, and Lalond placing fifth overall in teen duets and trios;

– Contemporary trio with Helinski, Johnson, and Lalond placing fourth overall in teen duets and trios;

– “Omen”, a cutting edge jazz heels dance placing 9th place overall; and

– Large group jazz dance “We Found Love” receiving the Sassy Style award; all pieces receiving golds, high golds, or platinum awards based on a point-merit system. 

“I’m ridiculously proud to see the teams hard work and dedication be recognized,” said Team Director Tremonti-Engelhardt.  “These are dancers who are going above and beyond in their technique classes at the studio and are working together to reach multiple goals. It’s thrilling to see these students begin to reap the rewards that they have been working so hard towards.”

The competition team will be refining their performances even more throughout April with the mission of competing at Groove Dance Competition in Waterford the beginning of May. This will be the first time AuSable Dance Center attends Groove in their 8-year existence. 

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