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Back row, from left: Angela DeZago, Alyssia Ziegler, Sammi Tannenbaum, Russell Tannenbaum, Alexandria Flagg, Nicole Ziegler; front: Marta Szydlowska, Carolyn Rizzo, Jazmyne Valenti and Alyssa Valenti
Palm Coast Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011 7 years ago

Mia Bella celebrates title

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by: Shanna Fortier Associate Editor

Mia Bella Academy of Dance danced its way to a National Championship at the Celebration Talent Competition, in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Three Mia Bella dancers were chosen, out of 800 dancers and 27 studios from across the nation, for the dance-off to determine the champion of the day, and the studio swept the results, placing first, second and third.

“It’s unprecedented to get one dance in the dance off, much less three, and then have them place first, second and third,” said Brie Valenti, owner and artistic director.

When Mia Bella opened its doors 18 months ago, it had 25 dancers and one studio. Since then, the academy has grown to 150 dancers and three studios.

“It takes most studios years before accumulating this level of national ranking, and for us to be doing it not even in our second year, and to have two national championships under our belt, is overwhelming,” Valenti said.

When Valenti opened Mia Bella, she said she wanted to shake up Flagler County and inspire it to dance.

“People play soccer in this county forever,” she said. “I really wanted something like that for dancers, and there really wasn’t anything like that.”

Located in City Marketplace, the academy and the art galleries are on their way to making the space at City Marketplace a cultural Mecca, Valenti said.

But what the studio owner is most proud of is her competition team. Some dancers spend six days a week in the studio and seem to devote all their spare time to dance.

“I want to give these kids a place where they can come and feel like it’s home and express their emotions in a safe place,” Valenti said.

THE WINNERS ...
Dance-off:
First place overall
Heaven: Russell Tanenbaum, Lauren Rawlins, Allie Flagg, Emmary Wolff, Jazmyne Valenti and Brianna O’Brien

Second place
Safari Shananigans: Russell Tanenbaum, Luke Stevens, Lauren Rawlins, Alyssa Ziegler, Nicole Ziegler, Allie Flagg, Sammi Tanenbaum, Kari Dutton, Emmary Wolff, Jazmyne Valenti, Brianna O’Brien, Serena Scalcione, Caroline Rizzo, Alyssa Waldman, Jesalyn Evans, Cimone Williams, Cayla Skeete, Myracle Pigninelli, Adrianna Fries and Kaylee Futch

Third place
All that Jazz: Lauren Rawlins, Allie Flagg and Ashley Schoendorf

Soloists:
First place overall
Caroline Rizzo and Alyssia Ziegler

Top 10 Soloists:
Brianna O’Brien, Jazmyne Valenti, Cayla Skeete, Lauren Rawlins, Nicole Ziegler, Emmary Wolff, Ashley Schoendorf, Russell Tanenbaum

Top Choreography:
First place overall Trio
Gratitude: Caroline Rizzo, Serena Scalcione and Alyssa Waldman (choreographed by Brie Valenti)

Contact Shanna Fortier at [email protected].

To see more photos of the Mia Bella dancers, click here.

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