The performance troupe of the Unique Performance Arts Center (UPAC), located in West Orange, recently competed in the Showbiz Regional Dance Competition, held at Paramus Catholic HS from Feb. 25-27.
The 30 member troupe, which includes Verona residents Jenna O’Connell, 16, and Jessica Waldron, 8, competed in solo and group dances during the three day competition, earning ten “Diamond” level and eight First Place awards in the categories of: contemporary, jazz, lyrical, musical theater, open, Pointe and tap.
The studio received the top award in choreography for its petite division tap performance “Shake Your Groove Thing” which includes Jessica Waldron, and its senior contemporary number “Love Me.” The small group competition saw the troupe receive the “People’s Choice Award” for their performance in the Pointe piece “Diamond,” featuring Verona’s Jenna O’Connell.
The “Senior Ms. Showbiz” award winner was UPAC’s Samantha Pankiw and the studio also had the “Mr. Teen Showbiz” in Dylan Contreras. The O’Connell family also earned costume awards for the studio as Mrs. O’Connell’s costumes for the teen solo performance “I Enjoy Being A Girl” and the senior dance “It Doesn’t Hurt” received first and second place in their respective divisions.