OTTUMWA — A variety of music pounds through different rooms as over 30 young kids from Dance Inc. rehearse their pieces for nationals.

“We are preparing for nationals by practicing like crazy,” and Courtney Monohon, dance mom, at Dance Inc. studio on Gateway Drive. “We are practicing, not only at the studio, but at home too.”

Dancing has been life, along with cheer and gymnastics for many of the girls. Now, the Talent on Parade Nationals in Overland Park, Kansas City, July 5-9, has them preparing like never before.

“I’m very excited for nationals, especially the quartet I am in,” said Olivia Kruser. “We are doing a piece from Descendants (Goin’ Down), and my duet with Evie is tap. Tap is my favorite.”

Dancing, cheer and other extracurriculars don’t come cheap for parents or the studio. Some things can’t be budgeted for, like nationals. But the studio, and the families are prepared to do what it takes.

“We haven’t done fundraising in several years and I’ve been asked to try and help these kiddos out,” said Sarah Gravett, dance parent. “I was able to work with the awesome people at our local Main Street Donuts to come up with a fundraiser, the first for both of us. …”

The money isn’t just to watch children dance. Dancing has taught the kids life lessons. Gravett said her daughter has developed more confidence, time management and accountability through her years of dance.

“It’s like a family, yeah,” Kruser said. “But it’s more than getting along. We are always here together, and make sure that everyone understands the dances, and get help if they need it.”

Another dance mom, Tasha Bacon-Kimmel, said she is inspired by the drive, talent and perseverance of all the dancers. Laurie Brisendine said dance taught her daughter selflessness and has made their families’ lifelong friends.

Now the children are brushing up on their pieces and putting in hours on small groups. These range from hip-hop to a favorite of the Acht (Eight in German) team, Batter’s Up, with a medley of baseball music. After hard work, and practice comes fundraising for the costumes and props.

Aaryn Frazier can be reached at afrazier@ottumwacourier.com or on Twitter at CourierAaryn.

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