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The Telegram
  • Young dancers place best foot forward at Newport studio

  • Martha Tolpa can’t picture her life without dance.

    “Dancing is my favorite thing in the world,” said Martha, a 13-year-old dancer at Just Dance Studio in Newport. “If I stopped, that would be the end of my world.”

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  • Martha Tolpa can’t picture her life without dance.
    “Dancing is my favorite thing in the world,” said Martha, a 13-year-old dancer at Just Dance Studio in Newport. “If I stopped, that would be the end of my world.”
    Martha is one of five competitive dancers at Just Dance Studio, where the dancers make it look easy.
    Studio owner Alicia Moody, 25, was “so impressed” with her dancers when they competed for the first time at Clinton High School’s Hall of Fame Dance Challenge in March.
    “They did such a good job, especially being a brand new competitive team,” Moody said.
    Moody’s team, ranging in age from 9-13, won a number of awards at the competition. Her team includes Martha, Emilie Monahan, Jordyn Conte, Bailey Martin and Morgan Warney.
    Martha and Emilie, 11, won All-Star Awards, which is a prestigious achievement in the dance community. Both girls also qualified for national competitions.
    “Being an all-star means that should they make it to nationals they get to be taught by choreographers who have choreographed dances for big names like Britney Spears,” Moody said. “So, it’s a really big deal for dancers.”
    Emilie, who has been dancing for six years, said winning came as a surprise.
    “I was really excited because it was my first time doing competition and I felt really proud of myself for winning all those awards,” Monahan said.
    Emilie won the Sassy award for her tap solo performance, while Martha won the Intensity award for her pointe solo.
    Martha’s father, Andrew, recognized his daughter was the only pointe dancer there.
    “At one point while I was sitting, watching, another dancer said, ‘(Pointe) is so hard, I could never do that,’” Tolpa said. “We’re extremely proud of her. Her passion in dance is what motivates her through everything.”
    Monahan’s mother, Christa, said dancing “really builds her confidence and she really loves it. It makes her happy, so it makes me happy, too.”
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