Young dancers take top spot on podium

From left to right, Nariah Nieves, Azya Craig-Blakely, and Leanisiea Davis show off the trophies won at the Star Power Dance competition in Las Vegas.

Young dancers take top spot on podium
August 04
06:15 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



Dance is one of the purist forms of expression we have today.  The Elite All-Starz have been expressing themselves along with dominating the competition in recent events.  The girls have competed in seven competitions and have come away with first place on six of those occasions.

Founder and owner of the dance troop Jemia Blakely, a Parkland High graduate, stated that the troop currently has six girls ranging from ages seven to 15. Boys are also welcome to join the group as well. She has been owner/operator of the troop for 16 years. Blakely was a cheerleader and former dancer as a youth and young adult.

“I get the most satisfaction out of being able to pass along the knowledge I have to the kids,” said Blakely.  “I want the community to see young people doing something positive and stay off the streets and stop being grown.  I want my daughter to have the opportunity to gain a scholarship and maybe go to Juilliard.”

The girls were coming off of a victory in Las Vegas, Nev., at a Star Power event. They placed first in the hip-hop open category for their age group. Blakely said she was very proud of their accomplishment, but they had no time to rest as they quickly had to prepare for another event in New Jersey on July 25.

During the competition in New Jersey the girls competed in The Power division, which is the toughest and most advanced division.  The girls took home first place in the Power-Hip Hop and Power-Open categories in the duo/trio division.  For their efforts they also took home a high score plaque.

Only three of the troop members were able to make it to the competition in Las Vegas and New Jerey.  Leanisiea Davis, Azya Craig-Blakely, and Nariah Nieves stated they love to dance and were confident of their chances to win.

“We love going to competition and we have the best coach,” the girls said. “First we get scared, but once we start dancing it turns into excitement.  We were very happy that we won in Las Vegas and we have done so many competitions we expected to win in New Jersey.”

According to Blakely, the girls fundraise to be able to take the trips to competitions.  She stated that she understands that funds may be tight for some families.  She said by raising the funds instead of asking the parents of the children for the money, the financial burden on them is minimal. Blakely said because of their efforts fundraising, the parents have not had to come out of pocket for any travel or hotel fees during this season.

The girls work out  at the Winston Lake YMCA. They are trained in different forms of dance such as hip hop, jazz, tap and lyrical.  The young ladies stated they love learning new routines and the positive feedback they get from their coaches.

Blakely stated she would like to expand and have a bigger studio. One day she would like to have a foundation where she can offer young ladies scholarships and have a storefront studio of her own.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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