Pride Classic ’09 set for Saturday

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Pride of the Tide dance team is busily preparing to host the Pride Classic dance competition set to kick off at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, January 31. The competition categories will be split between the Picayune School District Auditorium and the Kelly Wise Picayune Memorial High School Gymnasium.

The third annual competition promises to be bigger and better than ever, with 16 teams signed up to participate. Judges will prepared to view 103 entries in the different categories and divisions. This year will see 37 entries (in the combined divisions) in the solo category alone.

Both private dance schools and dance teams of public high schools from around the state were invited to attend, said Jessica Gruelich. Gruelich is the Dance Team Director for Pride of the Tide and a former member and captain of the team. She helped in organizing this weekend’s event. While the Pride will not compete, the audience will enjoy a showcase performance by the host team at the end of the event just before the finale, the presentation of the awards.

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Gruelich said she is prepared to view entries in different categories including: Pom, kick, jazz and open (a prop/novelty category). Also, for the dance schools, a tap category has been added.

Participating private dance schools will include: Caruso Academy of Dance, Center Stage School of Dance, Limelight Studios, Miss Sarah’s School of Dance and Bayhi School of Dance.

Participating junior and high schools include: Picayune Junior High School, Pearl River Central High School, New Hope Middle School, Pearl High School, New Hope High School, Olive Branch High School (2 teams), Richland Junior High School and Brandon Middle School.

Pearl River Community College’s String of Pearls dance team will perform in a showcase with Pride of the Tide which will take place at the end of the event.

The competition has really taken off, said Gruelich. Started three years ago as a fundraiser for the Pride, the first two years saw an average of five teams per year. This year, and its 16 entries, means the competition has tripled in size.

Everyone is invited to come out and cheer on their favorite dancer or team. Team registration is set to begin at 8 a.m. This is also when the doors will open at the Auditorium on Goodyear Blvd. Admission for spectators is $5 at the door. The competition will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Auditorium, and will continue till 6 p.m., the showcases by Pride of the Tide and String of Pearls will start at 6:10 p.m. and the awards will be handed out at 6:30 p.m. There is a lunch break scheduled from 11 a.m. – 12 noon. After lunch, the competition will resume in the Kelly Wise Gymnasium at the High School. For more information, please call 601-916-5189.