Imperial Valley Press
Jete Dance Academy wins 2022-23 Studio of Excellence at national competition
EL CENTRO — With an entrance wall filled with awards from competitions, Jete Dance Academy in El Centro has had to make some space for its newest achievement: 2022-2023 Studio of Excellence Winner, presented by Leap! National Dance Competition.
The dance competition was held from February 3 to 5 at Mandeville Auditorium at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Managing Director and Honor at Jete Dance Academy, Maria Antonia Serrano Garin, said her dance troupe learned of their win last Monday, February 6
“Receiving this award is meaningful to us because a small town as El Centro is being recognized,” Serrano Garin said.
“The work our girls have done and their parents — some of them practice daily for three hours and they are dedicated and hard-working,” she said. “It would not be possible without them to show what we are capable of.”
According to Serrano Garin, the level of competition is high. She said that students sometimes feel overwhelmed competing against dance studios from big cities such as Los Angeles.
“Since day one I tell them: ‘ Tell me what other girl has that you don’t; we are all equal,’” the dance instructor said. “’Everything depends on you, on what you want to do or what you want to reach. If you want to reach it, you can,’” Serrano Garin said.
She considers that this award will give students a sense of security and enthusiasm to keep practicing, and for new girls, it may spark their interest in dancing.
“Dancing is a beautiful discipline, it takes a lot of work and effort, but it is rewarding,” Serrano Garin said.
“Being backstage was exciting, but once I went out there I felt super happy and excited for what I was going to do and show my parents,” said Nicole Castillo, a Jete Dance Academy student who has been dancing for 10 years.
Students were surprised with the dance studio’s collective achievement as well as recognition they received from individual categories.
The dance academy started in 2016 in Imperial. Serrano Garin said she hopes the community of El Centro implements more arts in the city such as dancing, theatre, or music.
“These disciplines are the most spiritual and needed by humans,” Serrano Gari said. “I believe we (in the arts) need support, and it would be great if the city or associations supported them more,” she said.