The Dance Etc. Elite All-Star Dancers recieved a $2,000 grant to help with the cost of their annual Winterfest Cheer and Dance competition.
“The tourism commission has long supported the dance teams and their events at the Mountain Arts Center,” said Freddy James, executive director of the Bureau.
Pamela Hereford, of Prestonsburg, a representative for the Winterfest Committee, said, “Our competition has almost doubled in size since we began six years ago,”
The Winterfest Cheer and Dance competition, slated for Jan. 19 at the Mountain Arts Center, began in 2003 with 15 teams competing. This year the event is expected to bring in 33 teams, and over 550 cheerleaders and dancers from eight counties.
“Except for one year when we had bad weather, we have grown steadily,” said Hereford. “This is a great event for the area, and may be the only competition that local teams have the opportunity to compete in.”
Hereford believes that, with continued growth and increased promotion, the competition has the potential to become a multi-day event drawing dance and cheer teams from central Kentucky and Virginia. “Our competition currently runs from 7 in the morning till 7 in the evening.”
According to last year's records, 2,700 people attended the event, making it the largest one-day event to take place at the Mountain Arts Center,
The competition is designed as a fund raising event to help sponsor the Dance Etc. Elite All Stars as they travel and compete around the east coast.
The All Stars, who are coached by Jody Shepherd, are made up of 91 dancers in four teams, from grades two through 12.
“They've made quite a name for themselves, taking national titles in the National Dance Association, and Eastern Dance Association circuits,” said Hereford. “They always serve as positive representatives of our city and area.”
The All Stars compete in pom, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and variety routines and plan to compete in Louisville, Cincinnati, Lexington and Myrtle Beach in 2008.
The Dance Etc. Studio is located in Highlands Plaza of Prestonsburg.
The Prestonsburg Convention and Visitors bureau helps to support various enterprises such as Jenny Wiley Theatre and the Mountain Arts Center.
“At this time, the commision is in a guarded capacity for budget funds,” said James, who added, “Our tourism expenditures focus especially on multi-day events where lodging and resturants will benefit.”