“On Monday, Nov. 4, we got the call from Abby Lee Productions and that is the production company that works with ‘Dance Moms,’ the TV show on Lifetime,” said Kasey Ashworth, director of Fusion Dance Company in Cartersville. “Within pretty much 24 hours, we said, ‘Yes,’ and I sent an email out to the parents of my Infused Performance Group Company and they wrote back who wanted to do it. We choreographed three solos in three hours each and then we put together a group number of 12 kids in two days.
“... Being such a young dance studio in Cartersville, it’s definitely very exciting,” she said, adding Fusion Dance Company was formed in 2011. “We’re the only competitive dance studio in Cartersville. So for us to be able to get this call was, of course, honoring and then also a little hectic because I already have so much going on. We’re doing ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ for our Christmas show and we had so much planned [last] weekend. From 8 a.m. till 5 o’clock on Saturday, we already had things planned. I just didn’t see there was a way, but then I thought about it and [said], ‘You know what, this is the best opportunity, the kids will love it’ and they sure did.”
For the competition, Fusion Dance Company entered 13 dancers, ranging in age from 7 to 15. Along with performing as soloists, Katie-Dru Spinner, Nikki Gilliland and Hailey Sutter also were among the participants in the group hip-hop routine along with Acacia Geisen, Lanie Findley, Aubrey Holliday, Maggie Paulk, Kinsey Morgan, Emma Morgan, Kaley Davis, Madison Edwards, Heather Casey and Will Vaughn.
“The most unusual part of it is that it was all being filmed, so you had camera crews everywhere and then you had a camera crane that followed the dancers around on-stage,” Ashworth said. “This was the first time for some of my kids competing so it was definitely a lot for some of them, but we got their nerves calmed down.
“They got to see all of the girls from the Abby Lee Miller Dance Company. They were backstage with them. So her company wished our kids good luck and we wished them good luck. So it was a really great spirit in the backstage area.”
Both choreographed by Ashworth, Spinner’s solo, “Dream,” and Gilliland’s solo, “Lovely,” received High Gold. Seven-year-old Spinner’s accomplishment resulted in her being one of the overall high score mini soloist for the competition. Also receiving accolades were Sutter’s performance titled, “Pop, Drop and Roll,” which was choreographed by Mary-Kate Ulshafer, was awarded Gold; and the Group Number “Swagger Jagger” choreographed by Ashworth received Gold.
According to www.mylifetime.com, “‘Dance Moms’ season three averaged 2.1 million Total Viewers and was the #1 unscripted program in its Tuesday 9-10 [p.m.] time period among Women. The season premiere delivered 2.8 million Total Viewers, becoming the series’ most-watched telecast ever.
“Nominated for a multiple Teen Choice Awards, ‘Dance Moms’ follows young dancers’ early steps on the road to stardom with their doting mothers in tow for every rehearsal, performance and bow … all under Abby Lee Miller’s discerning eyes. The show immerses itself in the highs and lows of the dance competition world and delivers a captivating and dramatic look at the intense pursuit of national dance championship titles.”
The opportunity to be filmed for the Lifetime television show and compete against Abby Lee Dance Company was a very rewarding and fulfilling opportunity for Fusion Dance Company’s teachers and dancers, Ashworth said.
“This [provided] ... the teachers in my dance company the chance to share our love and our passion,” Ashworth said. “Our teachers at Fusion Dance Company are very dedicated to what they do. So to be able to kind of step up and dedicate this short amount of time to allow our kids to succeed was definitely a very fulfilling moment. It’s something I’ll always remember in the young years of my company.
“For the kids, this is absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Those kids left there so star-struck and on such a cloud nine, that it was definitely a bonding experience that I think we will always remember and they will always have as a childhood memory.”