Kaleidoscope dancers prepare to leap into regional competition

Jan 30, 2018

The girls at Kaleidoscope of Dance and Gymnastics are flipping, leaping and deep stretching their way to a regional dance competition, some of them preparing to compete for the first time.

There will be 30 dancers representing the Wareham studio at Showstopper, a regional competition that will be held in Worcester the weekend of Feb. 9. It’s the first year Kaleidoscope has competed in Showstopper, and they’re entering 22 separate numbers.

Kaleidoscope of Dance and Gymnastics is now in its 27th year of offering dance, gymnastics and other children’s programs. The competitive options the studio offers have become more popular, said secretary Kim Horton.

“More and more kids are into the competitive aspect,” Horton said. “They want to show their craft because they work so hard in class.”

For the competitive dancers, the season began in July. They have classes up to five days a week, learning ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, musical theater and lyrical.

Janine Hart, who teaches the oldest girls group, which has ages 11 to 17 competing, said her students are in the studio for at least 15 hours a week.

“They work so hard, they’re so great,” said Hart as she watched the students dance to “Make it Rain” by Ed Sheeran, which they will perform at the competition with modern dance.

For some dancers polishing off the routine, this is just part of life. Sam Marasca, 13, has been dancing for 12 years- ever since she could walk, she said. She’s done nearly 30 competitions.

Even though the older girls have lots of competitive experience, they’re still excited and energetic as the competition approaches.

“I’m really excited to do it this year,” said Isabella Hunt, 14, who is competing in five dances. “I think we have a really good chance of doing well because we’ve been practicing since September.”

The dancers said they look forward to meeting new people at the competition and getting to know the different teams. Competing also helps them bond. Emerson Femino, 12, said the girls have a big sleepover in the studio every year.

“When you’re with what feels like family, it’s a great time,” Femino said. “I’m really excited for all the adventures we’re about to make.”

The seasoned pros aren’t the only ones heading to the Showstopper competition, though. Brooke DiFrancesco, who has been teaching classes at Kaleidoscope for nine years, is polishing up the ballet dance routine for the youngest group, 5 to 8 year olds. It’s their first time competing, she said.

“They’re all super smart, super dedicated, and they’re always here,” DiFrancesco said. She choreographed the ballet piece for the young dancers and has them pretending to be fish.

“It’s been exciting getting ready,” said Kennedy McKay, 8, a student in DiFrancesco's class who has been dancing for eight years and said she wants to continue dancing in her future career.