2017-09-13 / LifeStyles

Four divisions, four titles

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Lifestyles and Features Editor

The Jewels of Southern Dance Academy (SDA) clogged their way to capture four division titles over Labor Day weekend, a first for any dance studio, at the USA National Clogging Championships held in Nashville, Tenn.

The Diamond, Platinum, Onyx and TNC Elite teams, along with overall solo winner Lily Peer and overall duet winners Erica Quinn and Anna Joy Hulsey, competed against more than 350 teams to earn the coveted titles.

“There has never been a single dance studio to sweep every division,” said SDA owner Misty Harrison. “This competition is a major one, I even competed there when I was little. Winning all four division titles is a great accomplishment and we are so proud of our teams.”

The competition was divided into four categories — amateur junior (ages 12 and under), amateur senior (13 and up), master junior (14 and under), and master senior (15 and up). The Labor Day weekend competition is much like the Super Bowl of the clogging world, and teams practice year-round to prepare. Teams must place in the top three overall at qualifying competitions to attend the national championship.

“Our master junior team, Onyx, and master senior team, TNC Elite, put in the most hours of practice,” said Harrison. “Onyx practices 4-6 hours a week, and sometimes more, TNC only practices on the weekends, but they put in six hours on Saturday and on Sunday. Our other teams practice about two hours a week.”

Those long hours of practice have paid off, especially for the TNC Elite and Onyx teams, who have both been featured on the hit show “America’s Got Talent.” Onyx also won their division at the USA National Clogging Championships in 2016.

After soaking in their accomplishments, all four teams are back in the studio preparing for the next big competition in January.

“These guys and girls give up a lot for clogging, but they all have great attitudes and truly enjoy what they do,” said Harrison.

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