I Dream of Dance (2017) Movie Script

[serene music playing]
[Denise Wall] Okay, this is it.
This is what we've been working for.
Some of you've been working
for this day for years.
Some of you, this might be
your first year. It doesn't matter.
Are you all excited
over there, you little ones?
[all] Yes!
[Denise] Say yeah!
[all] Yeah!
Parents, thank you
for getting your kids here
for extra rehearsals,
so that we can have a show
and not a recital.
I think we're gonna
blow the roof off. What do you think?
-[all] Yeah!
Go on. That's it! I feel it coming!
[all cheering]
[all exclaiming]
[Denise] Lights and music, go.
[dance music playing]
[cheering and applauding]
I live to dance.
I breathe dance. I eat dance.
Yeah. I fell in love
with teaching right away.
Just, uh, changing kids' lives
and helping them, you know.
'Cause a lot of times,
that's all these kids have.
My mom is crazy. [chuckles]
My mom is obsessive and she is passionate.
And it's all for the education
of somebody else.
It's all for giving somebody the gift
that she was meant to give.
Denise Wall, who is,
in my eyes, a dance legend.
Being with Denise
as a teacher and a mentor
has really just changed my life,
because I feel like I'm at my best
because she allows me to,
because she believes enough
inside of me to be my best.
She's one of the best
dance teachers in the world.
We immediately-- I immediately
started asking her questions
about, like, the body. Like, da-da-da.
[Denise] No, he has actually got a foot.
He's got an arch. Look at this.
Look at that.
Like a living, breathing encyclopedia.
My confidence really built up
because of Denise.
Um, and so when I saw Travis audition
for So You Think You Can Dance,
and we were really, really close,
it inspired me to audition for the show.
It was all the things
that Denise taught me
about respect,
how to present myself,
and how to kind of
stay grounded in those situations
that made me more successful on the show.
[Travis] It's incredible what she's done.
It's incredible, the reputation
that she's built for herself,
in the dance world.
I mean, everyone knows her
for the training
and what she's done with kids.
And, you know, people move here
from across the country
to come train with her.
It wasn't like this growing up.
Because I always said,
"Oh, I never wanna own my own studio.
It's too much work, you know.
Everybody else gets paid,
you don't get paid."
So I always worried about that
because, you know, at a certain point
I did become a single mom.
At the point that I opened up my studio,
I had three kids at this point.
Yeah, we didn't have
a lot of money, you know.
Um, I worked all the time.
I made sure my kids ate.
Sometimes I didn't, you know.
But that's what you do.
You do whatever you do for your kids.
[Travis] Nothing was ever given to her.
No one ever taught her these things,
she literally had to go
and find them and put them all together
into this huge beautiful pot,
and mix it up and serve it to everybody.
There's so many people
that look at me, and they go,
"You're just like your mother."
I'm like, "Stop it." [chuckles]
Mom, I love you so much.
Everything is always for you.
I'm like, "I tried to sleep."
They're like, "Yeah, you're not sleeping.
You're just like your mother.
You're not eating.
You're just like your mother.
You're putting everybody else first.
You're working so hard.
You're just like your mother."
I'm like, "Shut up!"
She taught me how to work hard.
What's really important about,
um, you know, the importance about life.
She was a mommy and a daddy.
You know, we would move
from this house to this house,
and, you know, she would go
from this marriage to this marriage,
and I would go from this job to this...
I mean, we were just kind of...
Everything was always
a complete, utter chaos.
And the only thing
that was always the same was the studio.
Well, she's... You know her.
She's working like...
She doesn't sleep for the studio.
She... she... gets, like,
one or two hours of sleep, so...
[Denise] If I didn't teach dance,
my kids wouldn't be able to dance.
I think that's why God gave me the gift.
I think, you know, he knows
what our journey's supposed to be.
[ballet music playing]
The company that I have now,
I've been cultivating for a while.
And they're one of my favorites.
I have more kids that really
want to do this for a living.
If I say,"Jump to the roof,"
they're gonna do it.
They'll do whatever I say.
Because they know I love them,
I love them not only
as their dance teacher
but, I mean, I truly love them.
They're in my soul.
[cheering and applauding]
They work...
They work hard. They work hard.
When I come up with new things,
they'll try it.
It's first step to the Dance Awards!
[cheering and clapping]
All right. What'd I tell y'all last year
when you got home from Nationals?
When do you start working on Nationals?
[students] Now.
[Denise] The day you get home
from Nationals from the year before.
[piano music playing]
Here at the Dance Awards, this is
the culmination of a year's worth of work.
[Goodwin] The kids go to Nationals
having put all this hard work into it.
Knowing that they could really
take away with them a career.
[Leeper] We tend to attract
some of the best talent in the country
because of the faculty we offer.
For instance, someone like Travis Wall,
who is an Emmy winner.
And we have certain other faculty members
who've also won Emmys
and are doing really great things
in the industry
and really moving dance forward.
[Goodwin] Every moment that
you're in front of these people,
putting your name and your face out there,
really showing that you want this.
Because there's thousands
and thousands of kids
at the Nationals that they're going to.
And it's the biggest event of the summer.
[Leeper] Any studios who have qualified
throughout the season,
they have the chance to compete
against all the other dancers
who attended from around the country
or around North America,
and it's some of the best competition
you'll ever see anywhere ever.
[Denise] Every ballet class, every ballet
class, and every ballet class again.
Every contemporary class,
every jazz class, every hip-hop class,
every class you walk into,
it's your goal to get to Nationals.
[Denise] Okay.
Pull back your hair a little bit.
You look a little wretched!
-Did you work hard today?
[Denise] That kid, you know,
she does it every class,
she's given 200%, every class.
I don't care if she's feeling sick,
you know, maybe her body won't push it,
but her passion to get it done
is still 200%.
Just don't let the drillin' hit you.
-Okay, all righty. Thank you.
-Thank you, Denise.
[Denise] Just keep on going
through those corrections.
I live in Texas, which is...
It takes 23 hours to drive here,
which is crazy.
My dad, he works for Homeland Security.
So he lives in Houston with my sister
and my grandma and my great-grandma.
And, uh... [voice breaking]
He does a lot for me and my mom.
He pays all the bills, obviously.
And, um, he's our rock.
He loves me and my mom dearly.
I mean, I think she's so brave.
I don't know that at 12,
I would have been willing to move
across the country from my family.
This is a very emotional situation
with her living here
and us there
because we have an older daughter, Hannah,
and that has been our anchor there
with all of her activities in school.
I can't leave her, so we've had to split.
We call ourselves a bi-coastal family.
So it's a struggle on our marriage
and it's a struggle with our kids
and the relationships.
But, um, through it all
we've continued to push forward in it.
Here's the deal.
I'm not gonna be
at Hallie's house for Thanksgiving
when she's 40 years old,
and we're not gonna talk about
what might have happened.
If we had made that sacrifice and I had
gone there, would something have happened?
We're not gonna do that.
I'm enrolled in K12.
It's a public school in Texas.
So everything's online.
I associate with kids and teachers.
It's just like a normal life,
but except it's online.
I miss school in Texas, but...
it's like, sometimes
I just think about, like,
like, why, like, be like
a normal kid, you know.
I have this great life right now, so...
I train probably 36 hours a week.
Seven days a week.
Monday through Sunday. [chuckles]
And then start all over again. [chuckles]
[DJ] I call her in her sophomore year
at Denise Wall University.
You can mention her name
and everyone knows who Denise Wall is.
Yeah. Engage it. Spread that.
Like, engage that, okay?
You have to think
that's your face right now.
[Trinity] Dance means
absolutely the world to me.
I mean, that's all I do every day.
That's all I think about.
-Oh, no.
[Trinity] I wouldn't say
it's second nature.
It's like first nature.
It's like breathing.
Denise is my second mom.
I mean, she's... she's there
when you need her.
And even when you
don't need her, she's there.
If something's not working,
she'll make it happen.
God-like, I would say.
[Erica] We're gonna call it a dream,
but this is a job.
This is what she, you know, does.
Really, I don't see her.
She's home for an hour each day.
I mean, sometimes
I have to remind her that she is 15.
Hey, do some kid's stuff,
like, go to the movies,
maybe your homecoming.
Um, normal children do this.
[Erica] Mom, don't you remember
when I went to prom?
Barely. That's been years ago.
[all laughing]
[Erica] I'm done, on that note.
-Gotta go. [chuckles]
-[Trinity] So mean.
The worst part about doing
a great number for your mom is...
"Okay. Well, then,
what are you doing this year?"
It's been like that since I was 16.
And, you know,
now that we have a good group again,
like, there were times when I was like,
"Good. We'd win Nationals,
we'd win Nationals."
And she's like,
"All right, what you're doing?"
I'm like, "Well, your group
isn't as good as it was two years ago.
It's not on my shoulders
to hit Nationals."
But she always just wants that piece.
All right. We're gonna try
to run this all the way through once.
I'll sit on my hands
and not cut the music off.
But I wanna see where we're at,
and then I'll know which section to go to.
-[students] Yes.
All right, let's go. Full out.
All right, let's go.
I kinda wanted to move into a little bit
more of like a twisted musical theater.
I just wanted it to be so different than,
like, the beautiful contemporary
and then really artistic
thought out, um...
typography that was in the last piece.
The piece is called... It's a version
of Bob Fosse's "Bye Bye Life,"
and again taking a different perspective
of "Bye Bye Life,"
saying, "Hello Loneliness."
It's saying that,
she's saying, "Bye bye life,"
but he's saying,
"Hello to the rest of my life alone,"
and wherever this space is
that we go to afterwards, so...
[students] Give it to me!
[Denise] Oh.
All right.
All right. Stop, stop, stop.
You know, it's a lot of emotion.
It's like, "Oh, you're sad, he dies.
The angels come, you can tell they come."
And then... Who is he? Who are you?
[female student] He's the gatekeeper.
-You are the gatekeeper.
-[male student] Yeah, that's me.
[Denise] Anthony, the gatekeeper.
No, I mean, you're funny.
[Anthony] My family
is really involved in dance.
My aunt was actually a professional
ballet dancer for Atlanta Ballet.
When I was about six,
my grandmother, after school one day
was like, "We're going on a trip."
And we ended up here.
I wasn't too happy about it on the way,
because sports is what I wanted to do.
And I came in, and I had
a little interview class.
I was six.
And it went pretty well.
I was really excited.
I saw a bunch of pretty little girls.
And I immediately fell in love with it.
Yeah, that's...
I want you to really work...
When you work on that...
When you work on that...
Yeah, make sure that resistance
in the back stays engaged.
Anthony's been in Montessori
since he was born
because we kept him in the office
when he was an infant.
Montessori has, what I said before
that I think Denise and the studio have,
the ability to inspire,
and the children there.
As long as you inspire them
to do something they love,
they're going to be successful,
and that's been his experience.
My favorite thing about Miss Denise
is how personable she is.
Because a lot of other studios
that I talk to,
people that I meet,
they aren't personable
with their teachers at all.
Their relationships are so distant
from each other,
and I find that so weird,
because at our studio,
we're so, like, connected
in a way that we're not aware
that we're so connected,
to the point that we're all family.
She has the ability to see every kid
and believe in each child
for what they have and what's inside them.
And especially this group right now,
because they've been dancing
together so long,
there's this interconnectedness
that's really powerful.
[Erica] NUVO is usually nerve-racking.
Like, she said, they're...
It's their first time putting on
pretty much the majority
of their pieces that they're gonna do
for the remaining part of the year.
And so parents get stressed
because there's costumes,
and we're gonna make sure,
you know, make sure they're right.
It's two.
-That we could cut.
-That we could cut up, yeah.
[Denise] He can't eat.
Yeah. But they think
there's something else too.
So they haven't pinned that...
Point that down yet.
Or maybe not.
But, um... But I think
it's because he's lost so much weight.
I bought him, oh, my God,
at Doumar's Barbecue,
and he ate almost all of that.
But he didn't eat any of his breakfast,
he didn't eat any of his lunch.
But that's why I bought him the Doumar.
So I'm hoping he ate a little bit
at dinner.
Anyway, but I'm struggling
with this because...
-You know, it's like I'm a bad mom.
No, you're not. No, you're not.
[Denise] I've done this before.
It's like, it's a no-brainer.
Like, I'm trying to do both.
I know, you're trying to be
a mommy to both.
Cami and Aimee are leaving tonight.
I will not be in their van.
So I bought a flight to leave tomorrow.
I have to meet, uh, with
Shannon's doctors in the morning, okay?
So, um...
Hopefully I'm gonna make it there
by Teen Solos.
Um, I got permission that
if I do get on that flight,
that I can move them back
just so you know this, okay?
If not, then I'm not gonna make it
for solos.
And I'm sorry to disappoint you,
and I've been toying with this all day,
and I cried a bunch of times,
but I gotta be a mom.
I'm always your mom, but I gotta be
a mom to Shannon first, okay?
So hopefully, though,
I'll arrive tomorrow night, okay?
-[students] Yes.
-[students] Yes!
[Denise] All right. We got this!
[Trinity] We didn't want Denise to know
that we're really scared
for her not coming,
and scared for Shannon being sick.
So we kinda like kept it to ourselves,
but we prayed a lot.
Just for Shannon to get better
and for her to be able to make it.
Oh, we're going!
[all cheering]
[Denise] What time is it now?
It's 11:30 at night.
So they have to leave.
Some of them are leaving,
I guess at 4:00 in the morning,
5:00 in the morning, 6:00 in the morning,
to get up to DC area.
[Leeper] So the dancers arrive.
Um, the very first thing
they do is have an audition.
This is gonna be count two.
He'll be in demi
to ronde de jambe, dgag,
taking the leg around. Good.
[Leeper] The very first thing
within that audition is the ballet.
So they are scored on ballet technique.
They're taught
a very short ballet combination
by one of our instructors.
They're adjudicated and scored.
And then after the ballet is finished,
we go into jazz.
[instructor] One, two, three, and four,
plus five, plus six, and a seven.
Release. Good.
[Leeper] And we do
a very, very classic jazz style
to be able to see the dancer's techniques.
[Trinity] The more you get noticed
in Regionals,
I feel like the more
they'll remember you at Nationals.
[Hallie] To qualify for Nationals,
I have to get a Runner-up
or a Winner scholarship
to compete at Nationals.
[Anessa] Of course, I push myself
for, like, personal goals and reasons,
but also my parents,
they sacrificed a lot for me.
And since my brother
lives in Florida, too,
um, just money...
[Edward] We don't go on family vacations.
We... Our vacations are the dance...
the company conventions.
Weekends? There's no weekends.
It's all dance.
[Anessa] Dance means so much to me.
I've loved it since I was a little girl.
I've always loved performing.
I have a hard time
putting into words what I feel
or what I have to say.
So dance is just a great way to express
how I feel through movement.
It's just something I need in my life,
and if I didn't have it,
I don't know what I would do,
because it's what I'm best at.
[Leeper] The all-age divisions
do their auditions.
They're adjudicated by a panel.
And then there's a percentage
that's added to the next thing they do,
which is their solo performance.
[Anessa] I always get nervous
before I go on stage, I don't know why.
[announcer] Up next is number 166,
with the Teen Contemporary Solo,
this is Anessa with "Infiltrate."
[audience cheering]
I gotta go. I gotta go.
[cheering and applauding]
[Anessa] On stage, when I start
my beginning pose, I'm like,
"Oh, gosh, here we go."
And then during,
it kinda just, like, fades away,
and I try not to think about anything.
I just try to live my moment on stage.
[slow music playing]
So I've always been competitive,
since I did cheer and gymnastics,
and dance my whole life, just...
And my parents are competitive too.
It's just something that's always in me.
[cheering and applauding]
And that was number 166, "Infiltrate."
[Anessa] Thank you.
[Denise laughing]
[Denise] I thought
you looked more mature.
[continues indistinctly]
-You felt good?
How do you feel?
Um, Shannon is...
They let him out of the hospital.
-Like a miracle happened.
I told you. Because I wasn't coming.
And when I walked in on Friday morning,
-from Thursday night to Friday morning...
It's like, "Wait a minute, you have come?"
Your face was, like, "What's going on?"
[Denise] Phew. Better.
And also, what are you looking?
You're looking at your hand?
My name is Jordan,
and I'm a senior at Woodside High School.
Dance for me is like
a freedom of expression
and just an escape
into, like, an alternate world.
And I just...
every time I go to that place,
it's just really calm and serene,
and that's where I love to be.
[announcer] Our next contestant, 256,
with a Senior Contemporary Solo,
this is Jordan with "Escape."
[slow music playing]
[Jordan] Miss Cami choreographed
my solo which is called "Escape,"
and it was originally for college.
At that time, I was really overwhelmed
by college stuff, auditions,
getting my resumes,
and I told her I don't know
what to do with myself.
So she told me we're just gonna
create movement off of two sentences.
The first sentence is,
"I feel overwhelmed."
And the second sentence
is, "I create stillness."
There's no outside stress,
there's no dance stress.
There's just calm.
At the end of the solo,
when I throw my hand out,
the stress around me,
I put it down and finally
just walk away from it,
and it's just me and the stillness.
[announcer] That was number 256, "Escape."
Your leg got up so high.
[Denise] Improv.
Loved it. It's okay. Hey.
[girl] Where did you improv?
See, you didn't know it.
Hey. No.
That's when you're an artist.
Yeah. I'm like, "Wait a minute.
What is she doing? What?"
-The stage was so slippery.
-No. But that's what you do.
You don't let it affect you.
I know. I'll do two turns
and suspended, and I was like...
-She felt slippery, and so she just...
-Never, never knew.
No, she just went in,
and that's what you do, though.
-You let it go, and you let it go.
Yeah, that was so good.
-[man] What's wrong?
-The lights aren't working.
-Which one is it?
-I don't know.
-Are they--
-All of these are working.
What about... What's happening up here?
[man] I don't know which set it is.
[Denise] Unplug real quick.
What am I gonna do?
Like, take two minutes
and try to figure it out.
[man] That's what I've been doing, Denise.
[Denise] Did he check this one too?
All right, so we just gotta
do them without.
All right. God, come on, man.
Come on, God.
[woman] Nothing's working.
They're not responding at all.
Try it one more time,
and then I'll just tell them to gather.
[woman] Is it... All of them are off?
[Denise] Are they all off?
All off.
[Denise] They came on.
Oh, my God.
[cheering and applauding]
[slow music playing]
[heart thumping]
[beeping rapidly]
["Bye Bye Life" playing]
Bye-bye, life
Bye-bye, happiness
Hello, loneliness
I think I'm gonna die
Bye-bye your life goodbye
Bye-bye my life goodbye
Bye-bye your life goodbye
Bye-bye my life goodbye
Bye-bye your life goodbye
Bye-bye your life goodbye
Come on! Give it to me
Come on! Give it to me
Come on! Give it to me
Bye-bye, life
Bye-bye, happiness
Hello! Hello!
He's gonna die, he's gonna die
Bye-bye, life
Bye-bye, happiness
Hello, loneliness
He thinks he's gonna die
Bye-bye your life goodbye
He thinks he's gonna die
My life
Oh, yeah
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise laughing]
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I said I'm playing that thing,
it started again.
I'm saying a prayer and God's the only one
who's gonna help us right now.
And it came on.
[man] That was awesome.
[woman] That was a lighting miracle.
What happened?
[Denise] Because I said a prayer.
I made her unplug it
and I said, "Go take it..."
[woman] That was a last second...
[Denise] He kept unplugging them,
it didn't work.
And I told her,
I said, "Do that. Unplug..."
I start that computer,
and I'm saying a prayer,
and then take it, and it started again.
-God did it. God did it.
-By the grace of God.
No. I did know.
Because I said I'm saying a prayer.
I said, "Unplug and start it.
I'm saying a prayer right now."
And it started again, and it came on.
God was with us.
I'm alive
I'm me
On the verge of living my dreams...
Once again, before I announce our top ten
in the Teen Solo division,
give it up for all of our teen dancers.
[cheering and applauding]
Doing beautiful work this afternoon.
In sixth place high point
is Hallie dancing to "I Tried"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
We have two dancers
in third place high point,
and the award for third,
first goes to Trinity
dancing to "Mon Dieu,"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
Second place high point,
we also have two dancers.
And our first dancer in second...
So going to Anthony,
dancing to "At The Seas,"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
And we have one dancer
standing alone in first place,
put your hands together, everybody.
First place overall Teen Solo is...
is Anessa dancing to "Infiltrate"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
We'll wait for Anessa
to come over here, so we can see her.
Ladies and gentlemen,
those are your top 10 Teen Soloists.
So starting with our
Senior Female Division.
The audition this morning
was really, really tough.
Our second winner represents
Denise Wall Dance Energy,
it's Jordan Gaskin number 885.
We have two winners for Senior Male.
And finally,
there's Wyeth Walker, number 865.
[cheering and applauding]
Take a bow, guys.
Wonderful work.
And the highest scoring Teen
Extended Line in first place
goes to "Hello Loneliness"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[indistinct chatter]
I didn't think I was gonna win at all,
or do as good as I did,
but it paid off. Yeah.
[Denise] Three spots. Oh, wait a minute,
I did take the top three spots. Oops!
I know. Cameras!
Thank you for all your grace and mercy
and bestowing her talents...
[Jordan] I applied for Pace University
almost in the summer.
I was really into it.
Denise told me about it
Oh, my gosh.
Hello. This is Jordan.
Jordan, hi. This is Rhonda Miller calling
from Pace University, New York City.
I'm calling you on my cell phone.
[Rhonda] And I'm calling
to congratulate you
on being accepted into my program
at Pace University.
Oh, thank you. Thank you so much.
-Oh, my gosh.
The director of the program
is calling to congratulate you.
That's crazy.
To tell you how much she wants you there.
-Oh, man.
-That's crazy.
You feel special, right?
-I really do.
-I know.
Again, with this scholarship,
I'm, like, halfway there.
But if, um, I'm not able
to pay just a little bit more,
then I might not be able to go
and I will really be heartbroken.
Financially, it's... it's a burden.
It's a lot. We try to manage...
Well, I try to manage.
I'm a single parent.
So it's one income
to try to handle the tuition,
and also the company fees.
And, of course,
I work here at Old Dominion University.
But I've had to pick up a second job
on the weekends. I clean houses.
May, all the way through...
really October,
I will work seven days a week,
if, you know, if we're not
traveling for a competition or so.
NYCDA has college audition scholarships,
and if I go to NYCDA,
then that means I'm able to go
for a $10,000 scholarship
that would really, really help right now.
Because I'm almost out of money.
But, um, that would really help.
That means I have to go to NYCDA,
like, the first week of July,
and then come back here,
back to the studio,
and then go to Dance Awards,
which is a lot.
But if I have to do it for money reasons,
then I would, I would do it
in a heart beat.
Up here, like,
'cause you're looking up here.
-Just open your chest a little bit more.
[Debbie] There's not enough words
to really tell you
what Denise has meant to us.
Um, she took Morgan to where
she is right now as a dancer.
But she's also taken Morgan
where she is as a person.
I have a small stutter.
For me, dance has, like,
helped me through that,
and it's like my way of speaking,
because it's my way
of expressing and showing who I am
without, like, uh...
physically saying it.
Most kids don't get that experience
of having a team,
and they're all, like, your age.
So it's like having a bunch of sisters
who are, like, twins.
Um, last summer,
I competed for Teen Best Dancer,
and I won.
I'm still so surprised by it,
but I somehow did it.
Um, so this year,
I haven't been competing my solo
at Regionals.
I've been performing it on Sunday,
during the closing show.
Denise, to me, is definitely
like my second mother.
She's helped me through so much.
In June of 2014,
I was diagnosed with breast cancer,
right before the first year
that she was going to Nationals.
Um, so as you can imagine,
with that kind of diagnosis,
our whole world just sort of came apart
and just really shattered.
[Morgan] I... I remember
I was in a solo private
with Denise in, like, June,
before my first Nationals.
Um, and then...
I had, like, not talked about it much,
and then I did one step and I broke down.
And her and Cami were there
to, like, comfort me,
and really, like, help me through that.
I'm a breast cancer survivor,
and I would say probably
one of the greatest gifts
that Travis ever gave me,
'cause I, um... I've...
Just since then, I've had, you know,
ten surgeries to do with that.
I went through chemo,
I went through radiation.
But in the middle of all of my surgeries,
Travis was doing So You Think.
I expressed...
I choreographed from, um, personal issues.
It's a way for me to get
through things in my life.
Um, I don't... not the best with words,
and not the best with
confrontations sometimes,
but what I do is, if something's pent-up,
or if there's a way for me
to release something,
um, I will create a piece for it.
And, this is what I was choreographing
for the show every week,
and it was...
it was crazy to think that, um...
uh, I got to that place,
'cause it's all I ever wanted.
So I have my career over here
that's quite amazing,
but my mom is like... [voice breaking]
It's just very hard.
Um, and so I...
Jeff called me, and he says,
"I have something for you."
I said, "What is it?"
"I have Allison and Robert for you
this week."
And I just like...
I just fell on my knees.
I remember I was outside of
my friend's house, and I fell on my knees.
And I just go,
"This is the perfect couple."
And I get to do this piece for her.
I get to give her something
that's gonna be worth seeing,
it's gonna be worth watching.
Allison, she's known Allison
since she was ten years old.
She's known Robert
since he was ten years old.
She knows both of these people.
They're not random people
dancing on a television show
with me putting out my piece of art
and work, and heart for her.
And so I walked up
onto that stage nervous...
Here with All-Star Allison,
ladies and gentlemen, it's Robert.
...but also excited and so honored.
["Fix You" playing]
When you try your best
But you don't succeed
Stuck in reverse...
[Holker] Dancing for someone
that I love and cherish so much.
I was being her, I was channeling her.
I was being who she is to me
on that dance floor.
So I had to be bigger,
and I had to be better
than I've ever been in my entire life
for myself, for her.
It was about, um,
Travis wanting to help me and fix me,
you know, during my trying to survive.
You know, because I did become,
um, septic at one point,
and almost bit the dust.
So this is how it started.
I saw her walking really slowly.
I came in right before she fell.
And then, uh, the whole point of the piece
was to, uh, have this path
that we're going down
and saying that
we're gonna get from here,
and there's a light
at the end of the tunnel,
we're gonna get there together.
And we started at the corner,
we ended over there.
And at that point, I was,
"I'll do anything for me to get you there.
I'll do anything
for me to get you on your feet.
I'll do anything
for this cancer to go away.
Please just let me help you take it away."
I just remember telling her
I was doing it for her,
and said, "Just watch it.
Just have a lot of tissues."
And, Travis, much love and luck
with your crisis at the moment.
And much love and support for Denise,
in everything she's attempting to do.
I guess this is, to me,
a cry of the season.
Um, yeah, it brings me back
to the last week
before my mom passed,
and, um, and how much I wanted to fix her.
It was just awesome,
and, Denise Wall, I'm praying for you.
[Holker] The feeling I have on the stage,
it's seriously, to this day, one of
the strongest and best ones I've ever had.
That piece earned me
my first Emmy nomination.
And my mom was almost slightly better,
and I was like, "I don't care
if you're not good enough.
You're walking on the red carpet with me."
When I first went in the hospital,
the doctor told me, he said, you know,
"You're gonna be in here for,
like, ten days. At least ten days."
And I said, "Okay."
I said, "Well, I have to go teach
at the Dance Teacher Summit
in New York City."
I said, "So I can only stay in here
for maybe one to two days."
And he said, um,
"No, you're not getting
out of the hospital," you know.
"You're in intensive care."
And he said, "You're very sick."
And I said, "Okay, all right.
Well, maybe I'll stay
for two days, maybe three days.
And then I'll miss
the first day of teaching.
But I've gotta go to New York.
I've gotta teach."
He looks at my mother, he goes,
"What is wrong with her?"
My mom goes, "It's called dance."
I love giving somebody a chance
that actually has the passion.
And if they've got that gut
and they wanna do it,
and I want for them to say
that they want it.
It's not that they wanna do it,
it's that they have to do it.
I told my parents when I was like
five or six, "I wanna dance."
And my dad said, "No,
put him in gymnastics."
So we did gymnastics
for a couple of years,
and then that didn't work out so well.
This is what I have to do. I love...
Like, dance is in my brain
all the time, like music.
I can't... I can't just sit there
and listen to music.
There has to be...
There's always something
that gets in my head, and it's just...
Dance is a way to expand
physically and mentally,
like, it's great.
It's a personal research
and personal, like, exploring.
"We drive, we pay, we clap" is our joke.
Wyeth is so happy dancing, and it just...
He doesn't walk, he dances everywhere.
And his mind is always
singing and rhythmic,
and he's always moving.
And so that's his soul.
Today, my son, Travis Wall, flew in.
Um, he flew here for two days
before he goes to LA.
He's going to try to cram in as many solos
as he can, for the Dance Awards.
He's stressed out, I'm stressed out.
It's a crazy situation 'cause he's...
It's a lot of pressure for him
because he's got to pick...
He's got to come up with new music.
Something that's going to fit them,
make them look really good,
but also something that's gonna make them
grow, you know, for the next year,
because they'll present those
and then they keep those for the year.
[Travis blowing raspberries]
-This is literally my life.
Did you see the song list she has up here?
I looked at it briefly.
[bass thumping]
[electronic music playing]
[Denise] Like it?
[speaks indistinctly]
[Hallie] Last night, we found, um...
we picked out a song.
It's like 10:45.
We were all, like, really tired,
but, um, we kinda just like...
He played this song,
and Miss Denise and I and him,
we all just like...
like our eyes lit up,
and it was really awesome.
[Travis] You were a lot easier than Wyeth.
I still don't have a song for him.
[Denise laughs]
[Travis] And can you
lower your body further? Uh-huh.
So it's like you almost like fold in half.
Go, go. Shoot.
Like that, and then...
Yes, just like... Yeah.
[Hallie] I just finished
my solo with Travis,
and it's really hard.
But once I get it
and, like, rehearse it a lot,
it's gonna... I think
it's gonna be really good.
Working on the outside.
I can't walk, but it's all good,
'cause this is what I do.
And let's say you're walking
in a circle at the section.
This is definitely
my most challenging solo I've had so far.
The process was kind of long
because trying to figure out moves
that match perfectly
to the intricate music was hard,
but we did it somehow.
I don't know how he did it,
but he did. [chuckles]
[Denise] She was all over the floor,
um, just trying to remember it quick,
and understand, uh,
it's very mature for her
to add all this cha-cha,
which is exactly... like, he's so smart.
He's so smart.
It's exactly what she needs to really
take her as a dancer to the next level.
I'm very sore.
I don't think I've ever been this sore.
I made a chiropractor appointment
for tomorrow. [laughs]
[Denise] Well, he's trying
to get eight of them done.
Eight solos done in two days.
And that's a lot of pressure.
You know, it took him,
you know, a while to fill it up.
It was almost how much time
he was taking to create
what the music was doing.
He probably could have done
maybe two solos.
Maybe three. [laughing]
[Trinity] So I just learned
my solo for Dance Awards.
It was different.
It was like a good different, like,
I feel like it's gonna challenge me more,
it's gonna, like, push me a lot.
Like, I love his choreography,
I love how he teaches.
He can be intimidating at times,
but, like, he's also family.
It's actually an honor. He's amazing.
To me, it was stressful, but I'm excited.
I don't wanna give you,
like, a character-driven thing.
I kinda want you to...
I don't know, manipulate your body.
My body is shutting down, like...
I haven't learned my solo yet, and
there are six weeks left till Nationals.
I'm learning it
this weekend, Sunday, Monday.
Jason Parsons is coming back to do it.
I'm really excited,
but I'm really nervous,
'cause not that much time, but...
Jason's movement is very different
from other people's,
but because now,
I've worked with him last year by myself,
and with the group this year,
I'm more comfortable with it.
But, like any solo,
it just takes repetition.
Privates with Denise
are really hard to do.
There's a lot of this, a lot of solos.
And everybody kinda gets them,
not last minute,
but really close to Nationals, so...
A lot of it has to do
with just how I manage my time.
[Denise] He wants you to do it from there.
Oh, that boy's crazy.
All right. Well, that's something...
Well, let's fix everything else
and we'll go back to that.
Well, I'm a little bit sad
that this year is coming to an end,
but I'm excited to dance one last time
as the Teen Best Dancer.
[slow music playing]
I shouldn't have to say things 20 times,
You, you're not like normal kids, okay?
And if you're gonna act like normal kids,
Nationals is gonna go down the drain.
-Everybody understand that?
-[students] Yes.
Okay, I told you this the other day.
When it comes to Nationals, I don't play.
How many of you wanna do,
uh, good at Nationals?
All right, put your hands down.
I was hoping that
you wouldn't raise your hand,
'cause being good is not good enough.
'Cause you're not just good.
And it's not that
I'm all about winning, it's not that.
It's you want to...
You wanna be exceptional.
And that's not just with dance,
that's just in life.
You wanna be exceptional
at anything that you do.
-[Travis] That's some nice splits there.
[Denise] All right.
Get back up, do it again.
Do it again. Quick, quick, quick!
[Jordan] Let's see.
Well, at least we have ballet first.
I can get that out of the way.
[Lyons] And then you have
a little more of a break.
[Jordan] Right.
And then contemporary with everybody.
[Lyons] Yeah.
[Jordan] And then, um...
I get to ask around
some more questions.
Tomorrow, I really hope
I can get a scholarship
that will help me to go here,
and it'll be better for my mom.
I'm super nervous, but I'm ready for it.
And I'm doing ballet,
and then I have a break,
and then I do contemporary
with the juniors
and the seniors who've committed.
And then we get to do
a Q&A with all the faculty,
and college people that will be there.
[Joe Lanteri] The class
that we just observed,
those dancers have all found a college.
They all know where they're going
to college, and they're hoping for,
and they've already received
the financial aid package
from the college of their choice.
They're hoping for extra money
from the foundation,
which they can take
to the college of their choice
to help offset some of their tuition.
Enjoy it and have fun,
and I hope you learned a lot.
And I hope to see you again soon,
and see you on the stage soon.
[Denise] This is my second...
Actually, this is actually my third night
of doing my Midnight Madness,
where I stay up all night
and I do solos for my best dancers.
So we do privates on their solos.
So it's what, 12:38 at night.
I have so many kids that want scholarships
to go for Best Dancer.
So we have all these solos,
and so instead of saying,
"Oh, only four people can have it."
I did this a couple of years ago.
I said, "Look, if I offered for everybody,
then they can't get mad at me,
'cause it's probably
the middle of the night.
No one's gonna wanna come
in the middle of the night."
And I put up sign-up sheets.
And what happened?
'Cause I went 11:30, 12:30.
I mean, I've got 4:30. Come in at 4:30.
They filled up every space.
So now, this has been the thing happening
for the last three years.
[Anessa] I hope to make top three
in the Best Dance competition.
If not that, top 10,
but my goal is top three.
[Denise grunts]
So take them on that roller coaster ride,
because that... that just makes it like,
you know... Yeah, yeah.
[slow music playing]
Take out those hands more.
Do it again. [exhales]
I feel like you need... You're...
This supporting leg's too rigid.
I don't even know if I can get it...
I don't even know if
I can go to sleep tonight.
I may not be able to go to sleep.
[Hallie] Well, obviously,
my dream would be to win Best Dancer.
[Denise] Oh, that's even better.
[Hallie] Or get in the top three.
Those are like... That's, like,
my main goal in life right now.
But I'm happy with just
getting top 20 as a first-year Teen,
'cause I'm at the lowest
of the age categories.
[Denise grunts] So good, so good.
Don't freak yourself out.
[Wyeth] This year is...
I really wanna at least make top 20.
I know it's a new thing,
like, Senior Division,
but I've done pretty well this year,
at the competitions
we've gone to in my division
against the other guys that we've seen.
So I hope to make top 20.
I don't know about top 10,
it's just what happens,
'cause you can't predict
how your solo will go on stage,
who's judging, what response you'll get.
Like, it's hard to predict those things.
You can just work your best and hope.
Try as soon as we leave to sleep
until we need to stop for breakfast,
and then fall back to sleep
after that when I can.
Try and store up enough energy
as we stay up with Denise the next week.
Right now, we're in the RV and
we're gonna drive down to Florida today,
and we're gonna, like, stop somewhere,
but it's gonna be really fun.
I'm excited and nervous
because it's such like,
a big, like, competition,
and it's, obviously, it's Nationals,
so, like, this is what I've been
waiting for all year, you know.
But I'm, like, really excited.
I just wanna go out there
and just kill it.
I got back from New York, at one o'clock.
We were supposed to get
into Virginia at 9:00,
but we got delayed at LaGuardia Airport.
Um, I went to rehearsal,
did a whole bunch of run-throughs,
and then now I'm here.
So it's probably less than 24 hours.
[crowd cheering]
Denise is here. [chuckles]
[Jordan speaking]
I was really disappointed
not to get a scholarship for NYCDA.
I really just wanted to help my mom out.
I did get some out of it.
I got a regional scholarship to NYCDA.
So next time, if I wanna go,
I don't have to pay anything.
I'm very tired, but it's gonna be okay.
I'm gonna push through this week,
and I think it's gonna be
a really good Nationals.
[Anessa] I got here
around, like twelve o'clock,
and we're about to have a rehearsal.
We're not here as individuals.
Even the best dancers,
you're not here as individuals.
You're here as DWDE.
That's what we're here for.
-We're here as a team, yes?
Okay, why are you here?
That's what I want all of you
to think about tonight.
Why are you here?
Is someone making you be here?
Hopefully not.
I'm hoping that you are the one
that wants to be here.
-Does that make sense?
-[student] Yes.
[Denise] And I'm gonna say this.
If we come and we don't win the thing,
as long as our journey was good...
No. [stuttering] I'm being honest.
This is gonna be
your hardest National ever.
[Anessa] Coming into Nationals,
just from, like, auditions so far,
there's so many good teams.
Like, so many good dancers.
It's like... It's crazy.
This morning, we had 8:00 a.m. auditions
for Best Dancer.
Um, we had ballet first, and then jazz.
And, um, my last name starts with a Z,
so I went first for ballet.
And that went pretty good.
I felt a little shaky
since it was in the morning.
[Anthony] So far, it seems
kinda like an equal playing field for me,
'cause the audition was, like,
kinda shaky for everybody.
All right. Thank you guys so much.
Exit to the right.
[Goodwin] You have to find a way
to stand out in the room.
They're all internalizing,
"How do I become an individual?"
"How do I take all the things
Denise has taught me
and actually incorporate them
into these seven days?" you know.
"Put my best foot forward
in such a small amount of time."
'Cause it could really make or break the
opportunities that they get in the future.
[Travis] I think that
these kids, especially,
I think they downplay it.
I'm pretty sure
they're freaking out inside,
but I think they wait
for this moment all year
and they're so excited.
How's it going, buddy? Good to see you.
I didn't make top 20 last year,
so I place, like, behind everyone else...
which was, uh, a little bit
of a confidence blow,
but it, uh, it was something that...
It caused a lot of thought
and personal change
throughout this whole year,
like, work ethic-wise,
and just like trying
to keep myself focused
on why I really am doing this,
and what the results could actually be,
'cause I'm just gonna
put my all into this and work
because this is what
the entire year's been about.
I really just wanna develop a better me
throughout this process
because last year was a little rough,
and I'm better than that.
[Leeper] Moving from the auditions,
which seem to be
a very nerve-wrecking experience
for the dancers in the first place,
now, they have to go on stage
by themselves and do their solos,
and they only get one shot to do the solo.
And most of the time,
the solo is only two and a half minutes,
three minutes at most.
And it weighs the most heavily
with their scoring.
It's 50% of their score.
[Trinity] It was like five hours
before I went on stage,
we had to change my costume.
I hated her costume.
It wasn't the costume I wanted.
I said I wanted a big skirt.
I wanted a lot of movement.
And they found the right color,
but the skirt,
like, they cut it up, and it had slits,
and there was no fullness to the skirt,
so I took my two-hour break
that I had today,
and I went to the outlet mall,
and I found a skirt.
Okay, don't throw it away.
But, honey, you better let them have it.
-It's gonna be so good.
-Go to church, girl.
Go to church. We're going to church.
[Trinity] We get in our head
a lot, like...
I feel like we all,
being Denise's students,
have something to show,
since she does teach us every single day.
[announcer] Up next, we have number 46.
It's Trinity Bonilla in "Summertime."
[audience cheering]
["Summertime" playing]
[Travis] When she started out, I was,
like, "Okay. She's hesitating a bit."
I was like, "What is she doing?"
And I was so glad she did,
because she started here,
then she took it to a whole another place.
[Trinity] My head was spinning on stage.
But I was mostly thinking
about the corrections that would help me,
like, stick around it,
and just having fun,
like, not holding back.
Try to take
Take to the sky
Lord, the sky
Until that morning
Honey, nothing's going to harm you now
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
No, no, don't you cry
[Travis] Trinity was gorgeous.
Trinity was so full,
and she became the music.
[cheering and applauding]
-I'm so proud of you.
-It was so good.
Thank you.
[Anessa] Last week, I hurt my hip,
and I have bursitis.
[Denise] Anessa, for her, I was scared
'cause I didn't even know
if she would be dancing.
She, um, strained her hip,
and then she ended up with bursitis.
[Denise] When you're doing the transition,
you gotta keep that face.
[Travis] Before she went on,
I just said, you know,
"Take the nerves out of this."
I said, "You need to make sure
that you exude confidence."
I said, "Just trust yourself
that you're gonna be there."
Technically, I think she starts to,
sometimes, gets a little nervous on,
"Oh, God, this part's coming up,
this part's coming up."
And she's never really
present in the moment.
Okay, let's just... Okay.
See, you can do the eyebrows.
You gotta do that.
You need to look... get in their eyes.
[announcer speaking indistinctly]
[cheering and applauding]
["My Amazing New Patch" playing]
[Anessa] That was my first time doing it.
I've never felt it on the stage before.
And it felt really good,
like, surprisingly.
I thought I would feel more, like, really
nervous on stage, and, like, shaky,
but I felt really grounded and confident.
I was kinda nervous
about, like, my hair getting in my face,
but it worked out.
And just trying to keep my balance
and control, so I wouldn't fall over.
I was a little worried about that.
[Travis] She was on her leg.
And the style, just the look of it,
it was just so different
than everything else
that they were seeing tonight,
so I think she definitely loosened up.
You are
My amazing new patch
[cheering and applauding]
-It's... You're amazing.
-Thank you.
-Do you feel amazing?
-Yeah, I feel really good.
Oh, my God.
You looked like you were, like,
a 20-year-old supermodel up there.
It's like, you know...
You were so controlled and the physicality
and the texture, the eyes.
Oh, my God.
I think you killed it
with the model, yeah.
[indistinct chatter]
[Hallie] So during the jazz audition,
we had a double turn on the left,
and my pinky toe, like, fell behind,
and now it's broken.
When I got backstage, I was like...
I was like, "Oh, my God,
this is really happening."
["Small" playing]
Yeah, I danced with a broken toe.
I was a little,
at the beginning of the dance,
I, like, slipped a little bit.
But the judges, they couldn't see it.
But I was like, "Oh, thank God. Dang."
I felt free, like,
the song says, like, you know,
"I might be small, but, like,
I can dance really big,
and, you know, be this
powerful little girl on stage."
That was so great.
[Hallie speaking indistinctly]
I know, 'cause
you were slipping with your socks.
Yeah, it's okay. It was good.
[Travis] Hallie's routine
has very sharp, aggressive dancers.
And for me, she was fluid
when she needed to be fluid,
and she was hard-hitting
when she needed to do so.
I felt like her dynamics
finally spoke through it.
And I felt like she had
a lot of shades today.
So super proud of her.
Felt like she came offstage. She's like,
"I could've done better," you know.
And this is the first time
in the Teen category.
She placed really well
in the Junior category last year.
But when you step into that Teen category,
it's a whole nother ball game.
For me, the Teen category is the hardest
category in all of the competition.
And just the way it works out with, like,
the best of the juniors coming up from 13,
and then these people are just about to
peak and go into the 16-year-old category.
It's incredible what...
what talent brings into this age group.
[announcer speaking indistinctly]
[cheering and applauding]
["How It Was" playing]
[Denise] Oh, he's getting into it now.
He likes reaction from the crowd.
[Anthony] The most challenging thing,
obviously, was the shoes...not falling.
So I didn't really have that much time
to work on it in between.
It kinda has a clubby feel to it.
When I first started, it wasn't upbeat,
but the more I worked on it,
the more it became upbeat.
[Denise laughing]
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise] He is a damn performer now.
I thought it was part of your solo, man.
I watched, no choice. I didn't--
I thought it was...
No. I was gonna fall.
That was... that was...
It was right on the beat, too.
-That was awesome.
That was amazing.
Fold again. More.
I just... I just love that.
I don't know why.
Be yourself, be unique.
But I need the ramp, I need the shift.
I need you stepping out of it, and just...
I know you'll make great choices.
Okay? Don't throw anything.
I want you to look like
you're also on your leg.
Yes? All right, let's go.
[cheering and applauding]
["Save Me From Myself" playing]
[Wyeth] Uh, this piece...
the piece is called "Save Me From Myself."
Um, so it's about, um...
having personal demons or, like,
personal memories that haunt you
and, like, alter you in,
like, your decisions,
so, in actions.
So I really tried to, like,
literally show those demons inside me,
but at the same time, like,
reveal to the audience
what I've been going through,
and how, like, this has affected me, so...
I always, like,
way in the back of my mind,
I was thinking about, like,
technique and moves and stuff,
but I was really trying to process, like,
being a character and being a creature.
[man] Oh.
I learned it in a convention room
with Travis.
So it was... it was... like, from there,
it's the constantly shifting
and evolving in different places.
Once I finally got to the studio,
it was great to have Denise to help me.
[Denise] Oh.
[cheering and applauding]
[announcer speaking indistinctly]
[Denise] Alien. Alien.
So amazing.
[Denise] Just an alien. Just an alien.
That, that last part...
A whole nother...
[Wyeth] Thank you so much.
I haven't felt that good about, uh,
completing something like that in a while,
so it's a big confidence boost,
and, yeah.
And especially with Denise,
and having even Travis' approval,
that means a lot.
It is gonna be tough, okay?
'Cause I can already tell you...
Elite, teen number from Sonya...
I'm gonna tell you something.
Every number affects the next piece.
Okay? I'm gonna say it again.
Every number affects the next piece.
The way psychology goes.
So I need everybody
to be very focused all day,
'cause we got our work cut out for us.
If you wanna try to be in the finale,
then we got our work cut out for us.
We have to show the training.
That's gonna be a big difference.
Because there's a lot of tap schools
that are... the ones that are here.
[shamisen music playing]
I love you, guys.
-Thank you for...
-You too.
[Denise] Everything that we've been
working on since last Nationals,
every class these kids have taken,
every rehearsal these kids have done,
every convention
that these kids had,
every master teacher I brought in,
it all boiled down to today.
["On The News" playing]
A billion people died
On the news tonight
But not so many cried
At the terrible sight
Well, mama said it's just make-believe
You can't believe everything you see
So, baby, close your eyes
To the lullabies
On the news tonight
Who's the one to decide
That it would be all right?
To put the music
Behind the news tonight
Well, mama said
Mmm, mmm
Why don't the newscasters cry
When they read about people who die?
At least they could be decent enough
To put just a tear in their eyes
Mama said it's just make-believe
You can't believe everything you see
So, baby, close your eyes
To the lullabies
On the news tonight
[cheering and applauding]
[announcer] That was number 46,
"On The News."
Um... 13-39. 13-40.
We're nine.
Not big, but like...
'Cause you're getting ready to...
It's about the gut.
Like, oh, God!
Man, you're killing me here.
Put your... Where your hands are
is really important.
Yeah, like, I feel like you don't connect.
Like you leave the performance to go,
"Okay. Oh, shit. I got to grab her hand.
Oh, hell, there we are."
And we're losing that.
We can't lose that. This is Nationals.
[cheering and applauding]
["Say You Do" playing]
Love me, love me
Say you do
Let me fly away
With you
We are creatures of the wind
Wild as the wind
You touch me
I hear the sound of mandolins
And you kiss me
With your kiss my life begins
Love me, love me
Say you do
Let me fly away with you
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise] So it's very emotional,
but it also is very emotional because
it's the last time we'll do the piece,
'cause then we rest it.
Let's go.
We've been going
since eight o'clock this morning.
So... I don't even know
how many pieces that is.
That's a lot of pieces.
They're only taking the top five.
["Who Will Find Me" playing]
Dance, dance in the morning light
Open your darkened eyes
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
It'll be okay, it'll be okay, yeah
Dance, dance, in the morning light
Open your darkened eyes
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
It'll be okay, it'll be okay, yeah
Where the roses bloom
Leave your cares, leave your fears
Leave them all behind you
Yeah, yeah, yeah
It's a beautiful day...
When you can get on stage,
and fill everybody up with energy, that...
that's what's beautiful about a piece.
It's beautiful.
It's a beautiful day
This is where I find you
I already talked about this.
On the beat.
And you'll need to make sure...
Open wide.
You cannot drop your face at a moment.
You're playing a character,
you're not yourself.
-Everybody got that?
-[students] Yes.
Not for a split second.
All this stuff leads up
to right now, okay?
Are you ready?
[students] Yes!
[Denise] Okay.
Don't throw it away.
Don't let anything bother you
if something happens.
They can't see everything. Yes?
I want this to be the best time.
[Denise] Yes?
[students] Yes.
[Denise] You ready?
[students] Yes!
[announcer] 15-16 with a Teen
Extended Line, this is "Hello Loneliness."
[cheering and applauding]
A one, two, three, four
[upbeat music playing]
I'm through with romance
I'm through with love
Oh, yeah
I'm through with counting
The stars above
And here's the reason
That he's so free
He's a lovin' baby
She's through with me
[Denise] The crowd was...
probably the most incredible thing
I've ever felt in my life.
You were so good.
-You had so much fun.
-Yeah, I did.
I think you had more fun than ever.
[Hallie] He said it was incredible.
He said that it was like an experience.
[Denise] So good!
[Hallie] The audience was, like,
laughing and crying.
He's pretty happy with it, so... score.
'Cause it was more than incredible for me.
It was...
[voice breaking] Sorry.
All the hard work, those kids just
threw their hearts out on the floor.
One thing I say all the time,
"Why are you afraid to be good?"
Well, they weren't afraid
to be good at all today.
[big band music playing]
[announcer] That was number 98,
"Sing, Sing, Sing."
[indistinct chattering]
-[Denise] Oh, my God.
It was so good.
What's wrong?
-What do you need? What do you need?
You need water?
What do you need? What's wrong?
-It hurts a lot.
-Your Achilles?
All right. You need to ice it.
Get in a bucket of ice water. Let's go.
[Denise] Trinity came off crying from
"Sing, Sing, Sing."
Her Achilles was bothering her earlier,
but her calf cramped up.
[Leeper] They have to be in amazing shape.
They have to not just be ready
for their own solo performance,
but they have to pull up,
literally pull up the rest of the week
for their fellow teammates,
for their fellow dancers,
for their... for their studios.
[Denise] Guess they're all
just beat up from...
We've gone from show mode,
to doing the show,
to doing National rehearsal,
you know, to come in here,
and they're getting up--
They're staying late up night.
They have to get up early in the morning.
[Leeper] You'll see a studio
rehearsing in the corner,
and they have to rework
their routine because, you know,
one of the dancers have gone down,
or they've gotten hurt,
or they've gotten sick.
Yeah. So it's really,
really quite intense. [chuckles]
I have 17 routines
re-competing in our closing show.
In a couple of days, seven will rise.
First off is "At A Loss"
from Columbia City Jazz.
Joining that, "24,"
from Canadian Dance Unit.
"Hello Loneliness"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[all cheering]
[Denise] She's never done this before.
-It's fun, isn't it?
[announcer] We are about to see
some of the most talented dancers
from around the world,
as they compete here tonight
for the title of Best Dancer 2017.
[Leeper] Tonight, we find out
who the top 20 is.
We announce the top 20 as a recognition,
because there are so many kids
that are participating.
[announcer] Top 20, here we go.
Joziah German from Prodigy Dance
and Performing Arts Centre.
Anthony Kelly
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Denise] Oh, my God!
Anessa Zivic from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
Trinity Bonilla from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
Megan Caines from Vlad's Dance Company.
Jordan Gaskin from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Leeper] And from there,
we announce the top 10.
[announcer] Murphy Lee
from Performing Dance Arts.
Anthony Kelly from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Denise] Go!
Whoa! That says a lot.
That says a lot.
Quinn Starner from Stars Dance Studio.
Anessa Zivic from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Denise] Yay!
Louise from Stars Dance Studio.
Trinity Bonilla from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Wyeth] I was terrified
seeing the audience
watching them go through the seniors.
Like, okay, the top 20 is here,
now the top 10.
[announcer] Wyeth Walker
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Denise] Yay!
[Travis] If we make it in the top 10,
it's the improv.
And I've seen people choke.
And someone I think
who has struggled with that
is Anessa.
[Denise] You just have to... just do it.
So you don't even know
what part of the music
you're really gonna hit on either.
They pick somebody random,
or whoever they pick,
and they go down that order and come back.
[Erica] I just had this feeling
that she would be nervous
'cause it was her first time, um...
But the adrenaline came out
and she killed it.
[Anessa] Improv is really stressful, like,
on that big stage,
and everyone judging you.
[announcer] Judges, please rank these
ladies 1 through 10
and pass your sheets out.
[Anessa] The competition is so good.
They're all, like, really flexible.
I'm nervous. [chuckles]
[announcer] All right.
Thank you so much to our ten ladies.
[Leeper] They get to the top 10.
You know, they know
they're getting really, really close.
And now they have to do the improv,
it becomes more and more intense
throughout the week,
so we'll see what they're made of.
[Wyeth] Senior guys are last, so we waited
through the whole thing backstage
with ants in our pants,
waiting to go on stage and...
I think there were 10 or 11 of us
up on stage, improving.
So that round was really fun.
[instrumental music playing]
[announcer] That's a wrap. Thank you,
seniors. You guys can exit to the right.
We'll have some results shortly.
And 2016 Teen Female Best Dancer winner,
from Denise Wall Dance Energy,
this is Morgan Higgins.
[Morgan] I will be performing
my solo, "Ave Maria,"
during the Best Dancer dance-off.
And I'm excited about it.
I'm a little bit nervous
just 'cause, like...
I feel like there's a lot
of pressure on me,
and it's more of me putting
the pressure on myself,
'cause I want it to be, like,
flawless and just, like, look so good,
and be like the perfect way
to hand down my title.
["Ave Maria" playing]
This solo means so much to me.
It's a tribute in a prayer to my granddad
who was probably one of
the most influential people in my life.
We were so close. I miss him so much.
And it's a tribute
to all loved ones we've lost.
[Denise] Yes!
[Morgan] Performing this on stage,
it was pretty surreal for me.
Kind of a dream almost.
I was like in, like, this alternate world,
just, like, dancing,
and it was just incredible.
I really felt that he was there,
and that he was with me.
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise cheering]
[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen,
that was our 2016
Teen Female Best Dancer winner,
Miss Morgan Higgins.
[Morgan] I handed down my title
as Teen Best Dancer.
It's really bittersweet, though,
because this year has been incredible,
and I'm really sad that it's over,
but I'm ready to work hard for next year.
[Leeper] Once they finish
the improvisation,
that score is combined with their...
Or tallied, I should say,
with their solo score
and the audition score.
Once that's tallied,
that will take us to our top three.
Once the top three are announced,
all the scores previous
are completely erased
and we start all over.
They re-compete in the same evening,
and they get a brand-new score
based on their solo performance,
and they're ranked
by the judges one through three,
and that's how we come up
with our winners.
[announcer] Three of you
will be re-competing your solos.
First off is Joziah German from
Prodigy Dance and Performing Arts Centre.
Joining him will be
Findlay McConnell from Elite Danceworx.
Last but not least,
Julian Lombardi from Canadian Dance Unit.
All right, ladies. It is time.
I'm going to announce four names.
I need you to step forward.
That means you will be
re-competing your solo very shortly.
In random order,
Quinn Starner from Stars Dance Studio.
Kelis Robinson from Elite Danceworx.
Vivian Ruiz from Stars Dance Studio.
And Anessa Zivic from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
Let's give all these ladies on stage
a big round of applause.
Congratulations, guys.
You can all exit to the right.
And we'll see you shortly. Nice work.
All right, gentlemen.
If I call your name, step forward.
It means you are re-competing
your solo shortly.
First up is...
Benjamin Peralta
from Britney Boyd Dance Company.
Michael Novitski
from Vlad's Dance Company.
Last but not least, Wyeth Walker
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise] Oh, my God!
[announcer] Gentlemen, congratulations
to all of you on stage.
Thank you so very much.
[announcer continues indistinctly]
Nice work.
[Denise] I just peed my pants.
[woman] Oh, great.
[Denise] I'm soaked wet.
[woman] You didn't pee?
[Denise] I gotta go. I gotta change.
I mean, just...
It just went, everything.
Everything in my bladder.
Everything in my bladder just went.
I'm sorry.
[Denise] So you already won.
I don't care where you place.
The accomplishment
of you being put there, okay?
[Anessa] It was crazy around me.
Denise was trying to do my makeup,
and my mom and Miss Denise
were trying to do my hair.
And everyone was like, telling me,
"Good job," and coming up to me.
So it's a little hectic and chaotic.
[stammering] So it... I'm not kidding,
that confidence better be there.
Like, make them gag.
Is somebody taking a picture of this?
I'm so proud of you. Okay?
Glad they're finally seeing
what I see, okay?
Serve it.
Just... It should be fun.
That's all... Now it's just fun, okay?
Just give them Anessa realness.
Yes? Okay?
Yup? All right. Let's go, girl.
[Denise] Ready?
[Anessa] Definitely, I got super nervous
when the number before me,
like, the music starts.
Like you can tell when it's about to end.
[announcer] Closing on our Teen
Female Best Dancer top four,
it is Anessa Zivic.
[techno music playing]
[announcer] That was Anessa Zivic
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
Judges, please rank these ladies
one through four.
[Denise] No. It's... No. I'm sorry.
I'm so... I mean, I'm...
I'm so excited.
You didn't even make top 20 last year.
Like, your goal...
Just go be yourself, okay?
Don't throw it. Just...
This should be fun for you.
That's what I want it to be.
I want it just to be fun.
Suspend it.
Yeah. Not that one,
but I like that one too.
Watch the other one.
Yeah. Yeah.
But that was good too. I will take that.
It's a show now, okay?
'Cause we've already...
Four segments and you're one.
You already accomplished
way more than I thought you would.
-[Heidi] Do you wanna come back?
-Yeah, really.
Yes? Yeah?
Okay. Ready?
[Wyeth] I've been so nervous
about this since, like, this year started.
Like, how this year will play out
and, like, what's gonna happen.
I don't think any of us
expected this to happen.
[cheering and applauding]
[slow music playing]
[man] Whoo!
[announcer] That was Wyeth Walker
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
That solo was an experience.
It's an amazing night.
-Looking like a pro out there.
-[Denise] I know.
Nice work, man.
[Anessa] This time I did my solo,
I wasn't as on my leg
as I was the first time.
But I felt like I performed it still...
Yeah, my feet were
just, like, really sticky.
[Leeper] And then they find out,
you know, on the gala night.
So they have a good two days,
to kinda sit and wonder, you know,
what their placement's gonna be.
[indistinct chatter]
So excited to be here at the Dance Awards.
I looked so much for you.
Just go out there and kill it.
That's all I got to say. Just kill it.
Do something different. You...
You know what you...
I talked to you about that.
Yeah? You got it.
[Denise] Yes?
[students] Yeah!
[Denise] All right, let's go.
[all chanting]
[announcer] Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen,
and welcome to the closing awards show
at the 2017 Dance Awards.
[upbeat music playing]
[announcer] That was your 2017
Senior Best Dancer finalists.
[Wyeth] At that final, like, performance,
especially for a couple of seniors,
like, most of us who,
it's our last chance
to perform with this group,
it's like a big last hurrah.
We got to cast one more time
and make Travis and Denise happy, so...
Just do our best
and please everyone, amen.
-[all] Amen.
-Let's kill this.
[slow music playing]
I'm gonna die
of a heart attack again. [chuckles]
-[Denise] Last round.
["Bye Bye Life" playing]
Here we go. Time for some results.
Our sixth runner-up
for Best Performance Teen Division
is "Get Me To the Church"
from Prodigy Dance
and Performing Arts Centre.
Our fourth runner-up
representing our Teen Division
is "At A Loss" from Columbia City Jazz.
[cheering and applauding]
Second runner-up
for the Teen Division is "To Build A Home"
from Vlad's Dance Company.
[cheering and applauding]
Our first runner-up
for Best Performance for the Teen Division
is "Brother" from Elite Danceworx,
which means our winner of the
Best Performance for the Teen Division
is "Hello Loneliness"
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[Denise] Yay!
[announcer] You guys,
congratulations one more time
to each and every one of these routines.
Thank you so very much.
[all cheering]
You killed that.
So thank you.
Thank you, because you're a big part
of why that score is so high.
Going out with a bang.
You know what I loved?
She was dancing behind us,
and you saw us,
and you picked up the gear.
-[Jordan sobbing]
-She picked up the gear.
You know it's never over. You know that?
I'll never leave you.
I'll always be there.
You tell me when your shows are,
I'll come to New York and see you.
You're never out of my life,
you know that?
Ever. Okay?
Love you.
Love you too. Thank you.
Thank your mama for bringing her...
bringing you to me.
It's okay.
[continues sobbing]
[Jordan] Thank you so much.
You're welcome, baby. Thank you.
[announcer] We are here tonight
to present the Professionalism Award.
And the Dance Award goes to...
Denise Wall.
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise] What? Oh, my God!
We should all tip together.
[Denise] I can do that.
I just can't believe that.
-Thank you.
Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time
for some of our Best Dancer results.
Please help me welcome to the stage
our Teen Female Best Dancer top 10.
First off, Emily Valencia from Dance Town.
I'm extremely proud of you.
I know that they are too.
If I call your name, step forward.
You are the Teen Female
Best Dancer top four.
First up is Quinn Starner
from Stars Dance Studio.
Kelis Robinson from Elite Danceworx.
Vivian Ruiz from Stars Dance Studio.
And Anessa Zivic from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
Our Teen Female Best Dancer
third runner-up
is Anessa Zivic from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
The Best Dancer first runner-up is...
Kelis Robinson from Elite Danceworx,
which means
our new Teen Female Best Dancer winner
is Quinn Starner from Stars Dance Studio.
[cheering and applauding]
[indistinct chatter]
-Thank you.
[indistinct chatter]
I know.
All right. It is time now to meet
our Senior Male Best Dancer.
Tyler Hutchings from Elite Danceworx.
Wyeth Walker from
Denise Wall Dance Energy.
Will the Senior Male Best Dancer top three
please take a step forward?
First off, it's Benjamin Peralta
from Britney Boyd Dance Company.
Michael Novitski
from Vlad's Dance Company.
And Wyeth Walker
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
Without further ado, guys,
Senior Male Best Dancer,
our second runner-up...
is Benjamin Peralta
from Britney Boyd Dance Company.
[Denise] Wow. Okay.
[announcer] All right, guys. Here it is.
Your Senior Male Best Dancer
first runner-up...
is Michael Novitski
from Vlad's Dance Company,
which means our new
Senior Male Best Dancer winner
is Mr. Wyeth Walker
from Denise Wall Dance Energy.
[cheering and applauding]
[Denise] How did that happen?
How did that happen?
[Denise] He didn't even make
top 20 last year.
[Heidi sobbing]
My God!
Where is he? Oh, my God.
Where is he?
Where is he?
Oh, my God. I can't believe it.
I can't believe it.
Oh, my God. I'm so proud of you.
I can't...
[Heidi sobbing]
Hey, Denise, congratulations. I'm crying.
[Denise] You know,
he didn't make top 20 last year.
-Mom? That's his mom?
-Yeah, yeah.
No. You remember the meaning?
Because he didn't make top 20.
See, when you work on it every day...
[Heidi] Oh, my God. Thank you.
[Denise] You're welcome.
Thank him. He's the one that worked.
I kept on pushing him every day
and he just kept on working.
[Wyeth] I still don't feel like
I just did that.
And it's... Yeah. It's really weird.
I feel really... yeah.
I can't... Yeah. I can't describe it.
I'm just... Yeah.
I'm really happy, and just...
I'm really excited for next year.
The adrenaline is falling,
so I'm, like, delirious right now.
He won Best Senior Dancer.
So we're just so excited about that.
And he fell to his knees
when the guy called,
'cause he didn't expect it either.
It was just a rush of emotions
once we got off-stage.
It was a moment I'll never forget.
[indistinct chatter]
[Trinity] So I think, it's all like...
It's all, like, joy and happiness.
It's been great. I'm feeling good.
"Hello Loneliness" got first place,
um, I got third runner-up
for Teen Best Dancer,
and Wyeth won Senior Male Dancer.
So, yeah!
It's a crazy night
and I'm so happy with everything.
Everyone was so emotional
with "Hello Loneliness"
because it was, like,
our last time dancing together
with, like, Jordan and Lexi,
and possibly Alena.
So we're just so happy
and all of our hard work paid off.
It was like a really special moment,
especially for the seniors.
You know, a lot of them are my friends,
like, best friends,
and, like, one of them is my Moms.
My two Moms, Jordan and Alena, you know.
And they're gonna be leaving,
which is so sad.
But I'm so excited for them
to see like what's gonna happen
in the future.
I did a whole bunch of crying today.
I'm so proud of us,
and I'm really surprised
that I got top 20.
I was not expecting that at all.
Um, I'm so proud of Wyeth
and I'm so proud of Anessa,
and I'm proud of everybody that...
Oh, I'm... I'm gonna miss them so much.
When I will feel down at the studio,
and, of course,
like, dance is my outlet, but they...
It's just their energy
bringing into me, I just...
Oh, I love them so much.
She was crying tonight really bad
because I told her I'd...
They'd never leave my life.
I'd stay in touch with them.
When they have shows I show up...
She'll be in shows in New York,
I'll go see her.
I'm always gonna be Mama D.
Then I'll turn into Grandma D
when they have their kids
and bring them to me.
[Denise] We won.
Got it. [fakes screaming]
And they think I'm professional,
but that's okay.
[Denise laughs]
We're done!
[indistinct chatter]
We won. I'm sorry,
I'm still, like, still in shock.
The whole process starts again.
We've got to start
getting cracking for Zen
and training the kids to another level
and get new pieces.
It's so funny 'cause I said, after we won,
after "Hello Loneliness" won,
I sent Travis a text and said,
"Thank you so much for the piece."
I said, "Now what's next?
What are you gonna do next year?"
And he sent me...
he sent me a face,
with the face like this,
with a knife coming through his head.
So in other words,
"Let him be" for tonight. [chuckles]
'Cause I never stop. I'm always going,
"Okay, what's next?
All right, let's go, let's go."
[Travis] Like, ah, the pressure.
The pressure.
[dance music playing]
Dance, dance in the morning light
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
Dance, dance in the morning light
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
Dance, dance in the morning light
Open your darkened eyes
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
It'll be okay, it'll be okay
Dance, dance in the morning light
Open your darkened eyes
Hey, hey, it's a beautiful day
It'll be okay, it'll be okay
Take a look, spin around
This is where I find you
Where the roses bloom
Leave your cares, leave your fears
Leave them all behind you
It's a beautiful day
In the city of shining light
It's a beautiful day
This is where I find you
[music continues]