BY AVA PEITZ
PCC Holy Trinity Intern
KEOKUK – Cicely Stevenson, a dancer at Top Hatter Dance Studio in Fort Madison, Iowa, believes that every person, young and old, should attend Top Hatter’s recital this weekend at the Grand Theatre in Keokuk.
The title of Top Hatter Dance Studio’s Recital 2018 is “On Stage,” which features many dancers with unique and professional routines. The recital is held at the Grand Theatre in Keokuk on Friday and Saturday. Both nights begin at 7 p.m, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $9.
“I think that it’s so important for the community to see recitals and things like this, just because it keeps the arts alive in this area. It’s something that’s totally being forgotten about, and I think that’s so sad.”
Stevenson has been competing with the Top Hatter Dance Studio Competition Team for six years, and has been dancing for fourteen years. “I love being able to work with everyone, and I really feel like I’ve just connected with them since the very beginning. I love seeing all of us
grow as dancers.”
Stevenson is a member of Top Hatter Dance Studio’s Senior Competition Team, which also includes Kay Quittem, Emma Torgler, Gage Hind, Kirklynn Nafziger, Makena Martin, Kendra Fuget, and Breanna Richers. Top Hatter Dance Studio also is home to Junior and Petite Competition Teams. Soloists from Top Hatter Dance Studio also compete, and have won many awards this year, as well as previous years. Kay Quittem, Peyton Huling, and Cicely Stevenson have all qualified for a national competition.
Stevenson plans on attending college, and hopes to carry lessons learned from Top Hatter Dance Studio with her. “Just recently, I’ve learned that everything goes back to the ballet barre.
“In fact, that is what I’ve decided to call my memoir,” she joked.
After competing for six years, Stevenson has collected many memories from working with her teammates.
“On our very first day of being a team, everyone was so nervous. There was just this energy, this quiet energy, in the room, and I was just so focused on wanting everyone to like me. After we were introducing ourselves, I went through the line and gave everyone a high-five. From that moment on, the tension went away and everyone collaborated.”
Shari Bartlett and Martha Butler are dance instructors at Top Hatter Dance Studio who choreograph for the Top Hatter Competition Teams. Bartlett commented that the Senior Competition Team has collaborated well this year.
“The way they have pulled together as a team, not just dancing individually, that they’re all one as a team, shows progression.”
Butler mentioned how you can see the progression the Senior Team has made since it first formed. “From the very first year they were a team, there’s been a huge improvement. This is because of course, their style has become very much more mature and professional.”
Bartlett and Butler both commented on what their favorite part of being a dance instructor is.
“For me, it’s hoping that they gain confidence and they reach and make goals and take them out into life. Their future can progress from there. I hope they never give up those goals, and that’s what they’re learning through these years,” Bartlett said.
Butler took a different route, and stated that she hopes that the dancers see their hard work pay off at the recital.
“Starting at the first class of each year and then fast-forwarding to the recital, and knowing that your hardwork has paid off, and they are showing what you have invested your time in, as well as their time. So we are just as interested in them improving and becoming good dancers. It’s not just for them, it’s for us to feel like we’ve accomplished something, too.”