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Dancing at Disney World

By Staff | Jun 27, 2008

Hannah Gabbard concentrates on her toe-tapping technique during a recent rehearsal under the direction of Denise Patin and her daughter Danie at the L’EcoleLa Danse studios in Estherville EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Hannah Gabbard has tapped her way into Dance America National Competition and Dancer of the Year in Orlando, Fla., next week.

During the arduous competition, Hannah who is the daughter of the Rev. Mark and Melissa Gabbard of Estherville, will be judged on:

n Dance solo.

n Interview with panel of judges.

n Four-day rehearsal performance.

Hannah Gabbard

Her solo tap routine is to the tune “Do Your Thing, choreographed by Danie Patin Juhl.”

Both Hannah and Kayla Evans, the daughter of Doug and Sue Evans qualified for this coveted contest. Kayla, however, had a schedule conflict.

Both girls were semi-finalists for the National Dancer of the Year 2008. Hannah took first place for her intermediate clog solo and intermediate tap solo while Kayla received a first place for junior clog solo.

In all, there are almost 900 dance routines heading into competition.

Hannah has taken dance lessons from Denise Patin and Danie since she was 3. In the fall, she will begin her 11th year of study.

Patin said Hannah will compete against 26 other dancers in the 13-14-year-old category. “Hannah and the others will learn a routine in nine hours, taking it from scratch to polished perfection in that time.”

They will perform the routine at Disney World.

The dance instructor said 80 dancers have been selected for the Dancer of the Year. “They are 76 females and four males.”

“I want to thank everyone for supporting me, and especially my brother Daniel because he puts up and makes sacrifices for my dancing,” Hannah said. “My mom and I are actually leaving on his 16th birthday and he hasn’t complained once. I want to thank my parents, grandparents, Denise and Danie for everything.”

Hannah’s experience will begin Monday, June 30 with registration, orientation and rehearsal. The following day will be filled with rehearsal, her interview segment, jazz combination segment and competition/convention registration.

Wednesday and Thursday include some rehearsals with the production presentation set for 1 p.m. on Friday, July 4. The following day the dancers will again present the productions and the junior title holder will be announced.

An early-morning dress rehearsal is slated at Disney World on Sunday July 6 followed by a convention, classes and the Disney performance.

“Hannah will perform at 8 p.m.,” Patin said.

There will be more convention and classes on Monday and Tuesday, with the Cirque De Soleil performance at 9 p.m.

“We are proud of our daughter and her accomplishments,” Melissa said. “We are also amazingly grateful to Denise and Danie for guiding her to this level of dance. Who would have thought moving to a small town in Iowa meant Hannah would have this opportunity to dance and compete at the national level?”

Hannah’s favorite style is tap but she also studies clog, jazz and hip hop.