On Feb. 23, Starz Studio of Performing Arts from Oak Grove hosted their annual Troupe Pep Rally at Grain Valley High School. This event featured the performance of 41 new dance routines that will be entered in local competitions this spring and summer. Starz Studio is in its 19th season of dance competitions and is home to the 64-member, nationally award winning Super Starz Dance Troupe. The entire group will finish off the season with a weeklong stay in Branson when they enter the Stage One National Talent Competition this coming June.

The Pep Rally event also includes an awards ceremony in which the students are recognized for specific skills, attendance and other individual achievements. The highest honor awarded being “Dancer of the Year,” which is earned through the students attendance, attitude and written essay. This year’s finalists were; Lacey Case and Alexandria Humble of Blue Springs, and SaVanna Schmidt and Angel Duong of Grain Valley.

The winner of this year’s title was Zachary Eisenreich of Blue Springs. Zachary is the son of Jim and Leann Alexander and is a 16-year old junior at Blue Springs High School. He has been dancing for more than 12 years with Starz. Zachary is the recipient of a Studio scholarship and will be recognized throughout the year for his performance and achievements in dance. This year’s essay topic was “How am I a role model for my team?” Zachary’s essay response was as follows:

How am I a role model for my team?

A forgotten aspect of dance is that it is a team “spart” (sport and art combined) a million times more than it is an individual “spart.” The team, in order of importance consists of the teachers, the parent, the role models, and the students; their job being to encourage and inspire the lower levels to want to learn and be the best they can be.

As a member of the role model category, it is my job to influence the little ones in a positive way and that has become a goal of mine each day I’m at the studio. Achieving that goal is done in three ways: how you speak, how you act, and how you teach. I try not to be a negative person or speak with a negative tone so people will respond with happiness and determination. It’s the best feeling when you can even get the level 1’s to want to listen to what you say, even if it’s a critique. Acting in a civilized manner is a huge part of begin a role model, so I try to display myself with professionalism, which I think makes the dance environment more inviting and limits the amount of tension.

Because I’ve had the opportunity to teach this year, I’ve been able to pass on the knowledge and inspiration to dancers who just need an extra push. This is the best way that I am a role model because I am positively influencing the future of the studio in a way that will hopefully benefit the team now rather than later.

And of course I couldn’t’ forget that I have to to be a role model for Jonathan and Cougar so we can keep the boys in dance and keep the team thriving!

Zach Eisenreich, Age 16