Howard teen wins dance contest with perfect score ELLICOTT CITY/ELKRIDGE

April 05, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Toni Loiselle has been dancing since she was 3 1/2 , and now it's paying off for the 17-year-old Mount Hebron senior.

The Ellicott City teen recently won first place in the National Cheerleading Association Superstar Miss Capital City Dance Team Competition. Toni earned a $200 college scholarship and a chance to apply for a coveted dance instructor position at the association's summer camp at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Toni defeated 42 girls from along the East Coast to win the title "Miss Capital City Dance 1993." Accompanied by Natalie Cole's "The Gift," Toni performed a two-minute solo routine before a large audience at the UMBC.

"I was a little nervous, but I've done a lot of competitions and got ten used to them," said Toni, who participated in Ireland's St. Patrick's Day Parade in March 1992 after being named a Superstar Girl at the cheerleading association's summer camp. In January, she won $150 in a competition sponsored by Dance Masters of America.

Despite hours of dance practice, Toni said, she did not expect to capture the individual dance division. "I expected to be in the top five," she said. "I didn't really expect to win."

Neither did she expect to receive a perfect score of 300 for her lyrical dance style, a combination of jazz and ballet. "What really surprised me was that I got a perfect score. I was quite shocked."

Lynn Singer, assistant executive director for NCA Danz/Superstar, said earning a perfect score is rare.

"It's pretty unusual," Ms. Singer said. "If she got perfect scores, it means she's an extremely talented and incredible performer. Judges look at technique, performance ability. To get a perfect score she would have to be strong in all those areas."

Toni said she choreographed the piece from a previous dance routine. "I cut parts of it out and rearranged it and put it back in order," she said.

Toni's dance instructor, Cynthia Kruger Wagner, said her student's dedication and talent enabled her to win the March 27 competition.

"Her extension is extremely good," said Ms. Wagner, referring to Toni's ability to extend her leg and hold it above her head. "She can hold on to that move."

Toni has worked with Ms. Wagner since she was 6. She takes tap, jazz and ballet three nights a week. Twice a week, Toni works as a student teacher at the Lansdowne dance studio.

She said she loves dancing because it is what she does best.

"I like it because I'm good at it and I can forget about the pressures of school," she said. "And I love showing off."

At school, Toni is an officer on the Mount Hebron Lancers dance drill team. As one of two officers, she choreographs dance routines, teaches students and helps with costuming, among other duties.

The Lancers drill team also won the team divisions for body rock and pompon, Toni said.

After high school, Toni hopes to become a professional dancer. She is considering a number of colleges that have strong dance programs, including Ohio State University, Towson State University, Goucher College and Baldwin-Wallace in Beria, Ohio.

"I can perform anywhere," she said of her career aspirations. "I have four years to decide."

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