For members of the Jewels competition dance team, sponsored by Judy’s Studio of Tumbling and Dance II in Basehor, dedication is the key to success. At the beginning of each season, the team decides how many hours of rehearsal outside of the studio they are willing and able to dedicate during the school year. The current team rehearses for three hours each week at the studio and each participant is also responsible for two hours on their own.

“The team comes up with their own consequences for not practicing or for messing around and not pay attention during practice,” said Kristin Mance, owner of Judy’s Studio. “They each understand they are a team and they will only be able to place well at competitions and improve if they work together and encourage each other to learn new dance moves and continue to practice.”

Mance took over the studio in 2013 and always wanted to give her dance students the opportunity to compete against other dance teams in area competitions. She credits instructor Ashley Sanborn in bringing that vision into reality.  

The team is open to girls and boys from fourth grade through seniors in high school and is separated into two groups based on skill and age. Tryouts take place during the summer and practice for the team begins in early September. For many of the team members, this is the first year for them to be part of a competitive dance group.

The team competes in four competitions around the Kansas City area. In late January, the team participated in its first contest of the year. Held in Liberty, Missouri, the team received multiple awards including a junior audience choice winner, top junior competitive high score and a gold rating. Those awards were especially sweet because this is only the second year that the studio has sponsored a competitive dance team.

Mance also stresses that the competition is not about beating other teams, it is more about how much each member developed and how they evolved and grew as a team. The Liberty competition was a small one but it helped prepare the team for larger upcoming competitions.

“This team is just fantastic. This is the most encouraging and motivational group of girls I have ever seen and we are so proud to call them ours. These girls push each other to do their best and the best that they can be,” Mance said. “Not just as dancers, but as genuinely kind and caring individuals. By watching these girls dance you can just tell that it is something they absolutely love to do. It shows on their faces and in how they dance.”

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com