Team of young dancers learns from moves of professionals

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007

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Members of the Power Explosion Studio of Dance competitive dance team with professional choreographers, from left, Tawana Hall-Smith, Gil Stroming and Nick Lazzarini after a dance workshop in October. The dance team based in Charlotte Hall has had the chance twice to learn from professional dancers, including Lazzarini, who have appeared on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.“

Fundraising performance scheduled

The Power Explosion Studio of Dance competitive dance team will perform Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at Margaret Brent Middle School. Admission is $20 a person. The performance is a fundraiser and proceeds will help the dancers enter future competitions. For more information call 301-884-9717.

Forty-eight dancers from the Southern Maryland and beyond had an unforgettable learning experience this month.

The Power Explosion Company Dancers of the Power Explosion Studio of Dance in Charlotte Hall participated in a dance workshop, competition and show in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 where they learned from professional dancers, including several who have gained recognition from the TV show ‘‘So You Think You Can Dance.”

‘‘It was really cool,” said Rowan Garvey, 17, of La Plata. ‘‘I’ve never had an experience like this.”

Garvey is the only male on the competitive dance team, and said that he and other dancers were able to learn more about how to move through watching the professionals.

‘‘It was awesome,” Garvey said, adding that he has wanted to be involved in competitive dance since his sophomore year of high school. He is now a senior. ‘‘I knew we were in for a good experience.”

Dancers on the competitive team range in age from 7 to 19. Most who attended the Nuvo event walked away with scholarships to attend a summer intensive dance program.

Garvey learned Monday that he was the recipient of one of the scholarships that will allow him to participate in the dance camp. ‘‘That was freakin’ cool,” he said. ‘‘There were so many people. It was really hard to stand out. There were all these other dancers.”

Eight other dance studios participated in the Nuvo competition. ‘‘I got the opportunity to dance with the ‘So You Think You Can Dance” people, Eleven-year-old Courtney Yowell of Hollywood said. ‘‘I was looking forward to it.”

‘‘I think everybody was,” said 11-year-old Erika Bruce of Mechanicsville,” ’cause there’s really good dancers there and they’re really civilized people and you talk to them.”

‘‘I thought it was like really cool because you got to meet these people that were really famous that you thought you would never get to meet,” said 10-year-old Taylor Moore of Leonardtown, adding that she recently joined the Power Explosion studio’s dance team because she was looking for a challenge.

‘‘It was really awesome to have these people come in,” said Hannah Kamperin, 10, of Hughesville. ‘‘Not very many people get that opportunity.”

According to Beverly Yowell, Courtney Yowell’s mother, the dance team had the opportunity to learn from professionals on two separate occasions.

One of those times was during a workshop called ‘‘Jump” held at the Charlotte Hall studio in October, featuring Nick Lazzarini from ‘‘So You Think You Can Dance,” as well as choreographers Tawana Hall-Smith and Gil Stroming. ‘‘These are well-renowned choreographers,” she said, adding that the dancers competed among themselves for scholarships.

The other opportunity came the third weekend of November when the dance team traveled to the Nuvo dance event.

Competing against the eight other dance studios involved made the dancers that much prouder of the hard work they put in to win the scholarships after learning from ‘‘So You Think You Can Dance” dancers Travis Walls and Ivan Koumaev.

‘‘It was very exciting for them to be able to participate in a dance workshop with these people,” said Vicki McDonagh, office manager at Power Explosion. ‘‘It was just a chance of a lifetime for them and they really enjoyed it. ...I just know that they work very hard in their classes to excel.”

That hard work is a common theme among the dancers at the studio.

Beverly Yowell said members of the Power Explosion competitive team spend four hours a week conditioning, take two classes of ballet, and are in several technique classes for jazz, lyrical and hip hop.

‘‘Most girls in the competition line are here four days a week,” she said.

‘‘Some classes, you might think they are really boring but you’re getting a lot out of it and you’re gonna be able to be a better dancer,” Moore said.

‘‘Some people think dance is just ballet and we’re all girlie girls,” Bruce said. ‘‘It’s not all foo-fooey. It takes muscle.”

‘‘It’s what you bring to it,” Garvey said. ‘‘Otherwise you’re just burning time.”

According to Beverly Yowell, that is the motto of Power Explosion Studio of Dance. A sign on one of the studio doors reads: ‘‘You will only get out of this class what you bring to it.”

For many of the dancers, being at the studio is not just about dancing, though. ‘‘Dance is where you can meet friends and bond as a family and make family friends,” Bruce said. ‘‘You also make friends along the way.”

‘‘It’s fun and exciting,” Courtney Yowell said. ‘‘...You also learn teamwork and cooperation.”

‘‘And discipline,” Kamperin said.

‘‘A lot of it,” Bruce said.

‘‘Dance rocks,” Courtney Yowell said.

‘‘Dance rocks my socks,” Moore said.

E-mail Meagan Boswell at