Leo dance troupe competes in world championships

The Diva Company, pictured here, competed in the world championships at the Meadowlands convention center in New Jersey. They take lessons at Dance NY Style in Leo. (Cindy Larson)

Cindy Larson


Ten talented females from a Leo dance school won a preliminary competition and were awarded the “Golden Ticket,” earning them a spot at the World Dance Championship in New Jersey, just a few miles from New York City.

On July 30 students from Dance NY Style Studio competed against groups from around the world in the novice class at the Meadowlands Exposition Convention Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

“I’m really excited but really nervous,” said dancer Rylee Sharp. Her whole family is going, and they planned to spend extra days touring New York City while there.

Members of the Diva Company, the performing and competing group at Dance NY Style Studio in Leo, practice the routine they performed at the World Dance Championship in New Jersey. (Cindy Larson)

Lindsey Tague owns Dance NY Style Studio. She has extensive experience in dance; she started teaching when she was 12. Professionally she’s danced in Las Vegas, Chicago and New York and has danced for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The Diva Company is the performing and competing group at the studio. The group of 8- to 18-year-olds had to audition to be part of the Divas.

“We have traveled a lot,” Tague said. “This is the first time we get to go to New York.” Like Sharp, many of the other dancers’ families are taking extra days to explore New York City.

The Diva Company dances in the novice category, which is for dancers who practice five to seven hours a week.

Tague is particularly proud that the dance the Diva Company will do has been choreographed by a senior student, Gabi Meredith. She has been dancing at the Leo studio since she was in sixth grade. She graduated from Leo High School this past spring.

Meredith chose the costumes and the song they will dance to: “All Through the Night” by Sleeping at Last. It’s in the lyrical style of dancing, which Tague described as something between jazz and ballet that has an emotional aspect.

“I’ve always been a lyrical dancer,” Meredith said. She said it took her about four or five weeks to develop the choreography for the dance. It was a learning experience. “I gained a whole new respect for (the instructors),” she said.

This competition is bittersweet, because Meredith is off to Indiana State University this fall to study pediatric nursing. She may dance while away at college, but only if she can find time. Her studies are her first priority.

The Diva Company includes the following dancers: Gabi Meredith, Hailey York, Bethany Keller, Cora Gerben, Makayla Rodman, Ella Martin, Emma Flory, Rylee Sharp, Julia Lanphere and Allison King.