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Rhythm, emotion drive College Park dancers

By Maria Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

A College Park dance studio serves area children who are passionate about the art of expressing themselves through movement and rhythm.

The Price Performing Arts Center, located at 5495 Old National Highway, has been operating for 15 years, and its dancers have brought home a number of regional awards. The performing arts center's dancers have performed in a number of shows and events including the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the 2000 Super Bowl XXXIV pre-game show.

"I am very proud of the students' accomplishments, and proud the effort they put in paid off," said Andrea Covington, director of the Price Performing Arts Center.

The center created its own dance company in August of 1994 with five different age levels. The Price Performance Company includes several students from Clayton County.

Jordan Still, 10, of Riverdale started dancing at the performing arts center when she was 4. She studies different genres of dance, including modern, lyrical, jazz and tap.

"My favorite is lyrical, and it involves a lot of emotion and different kinds of moves. It's [the performing arts center] not so uptight, and you get to have fun," said Still.

On March 1, Still won first place in the Rising Star Talent Productions competition, a regional competition held in the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center. In January, she won second place in the L.A. DANCEFORCE competition, in Orlando, Fla., for her solo performance in ballet.

Chelsey Willis, 16, also of Riverdale, has been dancing at the performing arts center for 10 years, and was determined to be part of its dance company.

"When I first got here I couldn't dance at all," said Willis. "It took me three years to get in the company, but I got in, and that helps me stay determined."

Willis' lyrical solo performance won her top honors in the senior division in the L.A. DANCEFORCE competition. She received a plaque and trophy in addition to a cash prize. She also won a platinum award in the senior division in the March Rising Star Talent competition, and won first place for overall best solo performance in lyrical dance.

"Lyrical is my favorite, because you get to tell a story by putting it into the dance, and by trying to get the audience to feel what you feel," said Willis.

The Price Performance Company recently performed at the Clayton County 2009 Cultural Celebration Day Program, presented by state Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro) and Clayton County Public Schools, held on March 22.

The dancers in the company have "grown a lot this year technically, and I am proud of their achievement," said Covington.