SHERIDAN — Trophies, ribbons, medals and plaques line the front desk of Donna’s Dance Academy to the point that you can’t always see the person sitting behind the desk.
Those are just the team awards.
The Sheridan-based dance studio is home to young dancers that routinely earn awards from all over the country.
The academy teaches ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical dance, gymnastics and has competition teams.
The biggest competition, called the Spotlight Dance Cup in Gillette, in which local dancers competed, consisted of more than 600 entries from academies around the region. Dancers at Donna’s Dance Academy took home awards for large group performances for ages 9-11 and 12-14.
Dancers at the academy also received other team and individual awards at various regional competitions throughout the year.
Donna Grant, owner and instructor at Donna’s Dance Academy, said the key to her dancers’ success is simple. The dancers and coaches put in hours of hard work and dedication.
Practicing 12 months out of the year, there is no such thing as an off-season. Many dancers make their way to the studio daily to practice routines.
The Diamond team, which is the studio’s top-tier dance team, practices eight hours per week as a team. In addition, each dancer spends hours on individual practices.
“When you go to all of these competitions and win these awards, it just kind of validates what we’re doing, what we love, and actually accomplishing what our goals are,” Grant said.
The academy’s members range from 4 years old to high school students, which employees say is rewarding as they watch each dancers’ progression over the years.
For academy employee River Heidi, watching the dancers improve and seeing their hard work pay off may be the best part of the job.
“They are such intense and incredible athletes that they make what they’re doing look easy,” Heidi said.
But dance is about more than winning awards. If you ask Grant, who is a lifelong dancer and instructor, it is a way of life.
“For me, dance is therapy,” Grant said. “Dance is an escape … it’s just something inside me. I don’t think I could breathe without dance.”
Local dancers will show off their skills for their hometown fans June 2-3 at the WYO Theater.
“Every class that we have gets to show the community what we’ve been working hard on this year,” Grant said of the show.