Local dance talents from Vicksburg shine at prestigious Dance Teachers United Competition
Published 6:46 pm Sunday, November 26, 2023
Students from the Debra Franco School of Dance along with owner and instructor Debra Franco, received awards at the Dance Teachers United’s fall competition, which was held Nov. 4 and 5 at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
After delivering outstanding performances during the competition, Vicksburg residents Cambria Fuller, Charlotte Amborn, and Helena Wallace were honored with high placement awards.
Wallace secured the third-place award in her age division, Amborn was the recipient of the Martha Geeslin Showmanship Award and Fuller was awarded the Best Showmanship Award for her acrobatic dance and she received the prestigious Mary Alpha Johnson-Donnelly Choreography Award for her tap dance, which was choreographed by Vicksburg resident Marneicha Wilson. Wilson serves as the competition choreographer for the studio.
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Franco was recognized as the recipient of the esteemed Teacher of the Year Award.
“This was such an honor to receive from so many teachers from across four states,” Franco said. I felt so honored and blessed.”
Franco added while standing there listening to the president of DTU, Blake Coheley, read out all the wonderful things about the person that was going to receive the award, she was shocked when her name was called.
“I didn’t know how to respond. I almost didn’t go up and get the plaque,” laughed Franco.
Tiana Burks and Aubrey Simmons, both from Franco’s studio also stood out among their peers by earning scholarships based on their exceptional performances in Hip-hop and Ballet, respectively.
“These scholarships serve as a testament to their dedication and talent within their respective dance disciplines,” Franco said.
DTU is a leading organization in the dance industry and during November’s competition held in Vicksburg 250 dancers competed, 60 of whom were from Franco’s studio.
Serving as judges, Franco said “renowned” dancers and choreographers Trent Soyster, Barry Kerollis of New York City, and Aubrey Cervini of New Orleans.
The competition and judging were held on Saturday and classes were held on Sunday.
“Their (the judges) presence added immense value to the event, inspiring and guiding the aspiring dance students in attendance,” Franco said.