STEPHENVILLE – Adelaide Ashley, 14, is set to compete in Florida this month as part of the 2020 National Showstopper Dance Competition. Ashley has studied dance for more than 10 years at Stephenville Dance Center under the direction of local dance teacher Rene Burdick. She will perform a lyrical solo routine to the song “Not About Angels,” choreographed by Studio 6:14 dance teacher Grace Frank. The lyrical piece will be Ashley’s second competition solo.
“Dance let’s me be free and express my feelings when I can’t put them into words,” Ashley said. “It’s a safe place for me – away from reality and the chaos in my life.”
Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council (CTFAC) has partnered with local dance studios and instructors in the past to help bring unique performance experiences to area students. Most recently, CTFAC joined with Studio 6:14 in support of their Annie, Jr. production.
In 2018, Stephenville Dance Center and CTFAC partnered together to give 10 young dancers an opportunity to audition for The Nutcracker, presented by Ballet Frontier and showcased at the Granbury Opera House. Adelaide said that experience encouraged her to audition for the 2019 Ballet Summer Intensive program with Ballet Austin.
“The audition process for both (The Nutcracker and Ballet Austin) were really intense,” Ashley said. “I had never had an experience like that were you go in with so many other dancers and you just do your best to learn the combinations they teach you.”
Ashley said she just knew, after seeing so many dancers audition at Ballet Austin, that she would not make the summer intensive program. But she was pleasantly surprised to learn she had made the cut.
“It ended up that I wasn’t able to go because it was too expensive – it was a 3-week program and I couldn’t stay on the campus because I was too young. But just to know that I was invited to attend – that’s something no one can take away,” Ashley said.
However, Fate seemed to have a different path for Ashley. Since she had extra time during the summer months, she auditioned for a summer camp with local dance studio Studio 6:14. At the end of that audition, Ashley left with a ballet scholarship offer for the coming year and a chance to work one on one with Cassandra Stanley, a former Ballet Austin dancer and instructor at Studio 6:14.
While working with the studio, another opportunity came along, giving Ashley a chance to compete on behalf of Studio 6:14.
“They (Studio 6:14) really wanted to get a competition team together,” Ashley said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of the Stephenville Dance Center’s competition team and to work with Ms. Rene all that time. It gave me the confidence to say, hey, I can do this. I can not only compete, but I can help other dancers get started as well.”
Ashley is set to compete on January 31 in Jacksonville, Florida. Top winners of the competition will be invited to perform at the Showstoppers America Loves to Dance Championship.
“I’m so grateful for all the instructors and mentors I’ve had along the way. From Stephenville Dance Center Ms. Rene, Ms. Wendy and Ms. Hannah. And now at Studio 6:14 with Ms. Grace and Cassie. I don’t know where my dance will take me in the future, but I know I’ve learned so much from each of them,” Ashley said. “I know the competition is going to be fierce but I’m looking forward to representing both dance studios.”