The pandemic hasn’t kept Turning Pointe Dance Academy from putting its best foot forward as the group’s members continue to bring home honors, including a pair of national awards.

Academy Director Crystal Mason said the past year has been a challenge for performing arts organizations everywhere.

The studio was closed for two and a half months in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“We lost our momentum. To perform together on stage and have a chemistry that is tangible mixed with technique and showmanship takes consistency. Constant focus. We were worried that this year competing might not yield as some have,” said Mason.

This year’s dance competition season proved Mason’s concerns unfounded as the group’s performers earned numerous regional and national awards.

Piper Jones was honored with the national award for Most Entertaining Act at the national Applause Talent Competition. She was chosen out of 100 acts ages 9 to 19 for her song and dance routine “Just Can’t Wait to Be King”. Jones is a member of Turning Pointe’s mini competitive team and also a vocal student at the academy.

Corinth Elementary School student Elliot Walker also claimed a national honor with a first-place overall award, national platinum award, and the title of National Miss Applause (Tiny Tot). The five-year-old won the award for her musical theater performance “Syanora”.

The path to nationals was paved with regional competition which saw numerous platinum, double platinum, and special judges awards. Two groups also received special invitations to an exclusive, intensive class with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in New York. The honor went to the studio’s mini team for “Fallen For You”, inspired by the movie “The Sandlot” and the teen team for their musical theater piece, “Tonight Belongs to Us”, from “Prom”. Two other duet performances were also invited to intensive classes in California.

At the Applause Talent regional competition, Sydney Smith won Miss Teen Applause and Walker earned the regional award for Tiny Tot Miss Applause in the regional competition for entries from Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

Mason said the year has been difficult but the studio has focused on success and learning. She said they begin each competition with a prayer, “Guide our feet, calm our nerves and fly or fall, Lord, we give you all the glory because we know you learn as much from the fall as you do the flight.”

Mason said training and performing have helped give the students consistency and normalcy in a year where so much has been different and ever-changing.

New training camps start soon. For more information on Turning Pointe and its programs, call 662-665-1269.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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