The Annapolis Middle School (AMS) Dance Company started the first day of the new year in Florida, eating breakfast at the hotel before they walked to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. During the brisk, 8-minute walk, they passed a cruise ship just as the sun was peeking over the bridge.
AMS dance teacher, Kendra Smith, and AMS teacher/chaperone, Christina Shimko, joined the 12 sleepy, yet eager, dancers for a day of dance clinics with professional choreographers. About 650 student dancers from around the country (and one group from Canada) were taught classes that ranged from Broadway-style to hip hop.
Parents and chaperones were invited to a showcase at 5 p.m. to see the students perform what they had learned that day, along with a sneak peek of the Orange Bowl routine. All the dance companies received a plaque for participation at the beginning of the showcase.
Afterwards, the exhausted AMS dancers quickly energized for photos with the choreographers. Smith asked the guest choreographers to sign the back of the plaque. Adam Crutchley, 13, also asked the choreographers to sign his new Bowl Games of America water bottle, which he will surely treasure as a memento of the experience.
The group walked back to the hotel for dinner around the pool. When asked if the trip was everything she had hoped it would be, the look on 13-year-old Anne Lillefloren's face said it all.
"It was better," she said.
Check back tomorrow for more details on what the dancers are doing as they spend all day in rehearsal again at the convention center in Florida.