Local dancers compete against TV contemporaries

Blair Dance Company members got a chance on Lifetime.

About 20 students from the competitive dance team of the Blair Dance Academy, recently re-located to 2914 W. Chestnut Ave, competed against dancers from the popular television show “Dance Moms,” airing on the Lifetime network.

“Dance Moms” follows dancers and their moms from Pittsburgh’s Abby Lee Dance Company, which the outspoken Abby Lee Miller owns.

Blair Dance Academy owner Rebecca Reese said about three weeks before the competition in early May the director of Sheer Talent Ltd., which arranges dance competitions and workshops internationally according to its website, called to invite them to compete in Wheeling, W.V., during a taping of a season four episode.

The Blair Dance Company is on episode 21, “Double the Moms, Double the Trouble,” originally airing July 29.

Because of “the high-caliber of our talent they thought we would be perfect to join them,” she said. It was “very exciting.”

Blair Dance Company members competed in a Sheer Talent competition in Lancaster in March.

At the Wheeling competition, Blair Dance members brought home 3 titanium and 10 platinum in adjudication; 6 first place, 1 second place, 3 third place, and 2 fourth place overall high score rankings.

Blair Dance also brought home special awards.

Marissa Villano was awarded Sheer Personality for her “Sassy” routine; the Sheer Entertainment award went to the routinue “Pretty Fly for a White Guy;” Heather Guthrie and Kyle Nyiri received the Sheer Performance award for “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing;” and “Little Red Hat” with costumes by Melanie Coposky won Sheer Costume.

While the Blair Dance Company competed against dancers from other companies, they also went up against dancers from the cast of “Dance Moms.”

Blair dancers came in third and fourth against “Dance Moms” wins of first and second in two group dance routines, Reese said.

Blair Dance soloist Hailey Sanders got the fifth highest solo score of the competition for her “Kiss Kiss” routine, while “Dance Mom” soloists placed first and fourth.

The 15-year-old Altoona 10th-grader has been dancing about 12 years and is aiming to dance professionally one day, she said.

She dances in all styles, but her favorite is jazz.

“It was amazing,” she said of her experience with the television show. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will never forget that moment. It was just amazing to be there with all the girls and Abby, and I’ll never forget it.”

As for her solo placement, she “felt really good” about the “really big accomplishment to place against” a dancer from the Abby Lee Dance Company, she said.

New episodes of “Dance Moms” air 9 p.m. Tuesdays on Lifetime.

Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030. Follow her on Twitter (@AmandaGabeletto), Facebook (Amanda Gabeletto Altoona Mirror) or on her Mirror blog “House of Gab” at