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Ritenour Students Earn Top Awards in National Dance Competition

Photo by Amanda PowersWhile some students take a break during the summer, others use the time to heat up for competition. 

A group of Ritenour School District students, working with their dance studio, Dance Factory in Maryland Heights, earned first-place trophies in a national competition in Branson, Mo. June 27 - July 1.  

Students include Elijah Powers, an incoming seventh-grader from Hoech Middle School and Ritenour High School students Maggie Bannester, an incoming freshman; Aiyana “LaLa” Cohen, an incoming sophomore; Elijah Davis, an incoming freshman, and Skylar Powers, an incoming sophomore. 

During the weeklong competition, the team battled against other studios from across the country.   

Skylar Powers said, “Competing at the national level is a different environment. The stiffer competition just makes you grow.”

Photo credit: Amanda Powers

The team qualified for the exclusive “Battle of the Stars” in a hip hop routine choreographed by Ritenour alumna and Hoech Middle School teacher Marquita Bowers-Brown. 

“I couldn’t believe we were selected for the battle. I wanted to cry. It meant all the time was worth it,” said Bannester.

The Ritenour dancers said they didn’t mind swapping pool time and other summer activities for the long season of rehearsals and performance.

“Being a part of Dance Factory is just fun. We know how to work hard but also how to enjoy ourselves,” said Cohen.