Ribbon fans fluttered through the air, changing from thick, brilliant strokes of color across the stage to thin wisps spiraling around dancing girls’ heads. They jumped, twirled and dazzled the audience with their synchronized moves.
The Applegate Dance Company’s junior-level dance troupe Standing in Motion took home the $200 prize Saturday, Dec. 1 at the third annual Davis’ Got Talent (DGT) show held at the Veterans Memorial Theater. Competitors included singers, musicians and several dance groups.
After a unanimous decision, one of the dancers, 15-year-old Dany Cook, came out to accept the award on the group’s behalf and was then joined by the rest of the dance team.
“I knew we had a chance of winning, but I didn’t think we’d actually win,” Cook said.
Applegate Dance Company’s director, Lisa Applegate, said she was excited that the dance team won and said that Cook had played an integral part in that achievement.
“I helped with the choreography and coming up with the motions for the fans because I did color guard for two years in middle school,” Cook said.
Cook and Applegate often met up after class at the dance studio and spent a few hours coming up with ideas for this particular dance, Cook said. Once the planning for the dance was done, certain dancers had to be trained separately to get their solos down for the performance.
“We kept having solo practices and I had to do my solo over and over again, but having everyone together just made it feel like a family almost,” Cook said.
When asked how she was feeling during the time leading up to the event, Cook said that she was starting to get nervous.
“I was really stressed out over the week. We’ve performed this dance, but we’ve never competed it, so I was really nervous, but I guess it turned out okay,” Cook said.
Roy Engoron, professor emeritus at UC Davis in the Theatre Department and one of the three judges for DGT, said he thought the award was well deserved.
“I feel great about the final decision. It was unanimous, but there were other acts that were out of the top spot by only a point or two,” Engoron said.
Performers were judged on categories like their presentation on stage, technical ability, appearance/costume, difficulty and appropriateness, according to DGT’s coordinator, Ajay Raj.
“The hardest part of judging the performances is weighing how the performers tweaked their acts since the auditions,” Engoron said. “As a judge, you might have a preconceived notion of what you saw before, and all of a sudden there is a surprise which throws all of your notions out the window. It’s a delightful dilemma to be in.”
First-year judge Kyle Monhollen, who is a staff member at the Richard L. Nelson Gallery at UC Davis and executive board member for the Davis School Arts Foundation, said he did have some favorites for the night.
“Brady Corcoran’s original guitar jam was great, and I was really impressed by Crissman Paine’s song and voice. The winning dance troupe Standing in Motion is a talented, well-rehearsed group of young performers, but they were also obviously having fun too, and that confident, entertaining energy was what really came across and made the difference for me,” Monhollen said.
Along with the cash prize, winners are also typically offered the opportunity to perform at Davis’ community July 4 event. However, Applegate and Raj both agreed the dance troupe was far too big for the stage. Plans for the $200 grand prize are already in the making, though.
“I’m going to use the money to hire male dancers for our annual showcase that we do,” Applegate said.
The Applegate Dance Company, located in Davis, has classes for individuals anywhere from 3 years old to adult and skill levels from beginning to intermediate. Cook said she has enjoyed her past three years with the company.
“It’s like a big family,” Cook said. “I love it.”
MARIA MARCELINA CRYSTAL VEGA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.