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Dancers from the Orlando Molina Ballet Training program based in Gwinnett garnered many awards and recognition at the Youth American Grand Prix competition in Atlanta, Jan. 30 through Feb. 2.

“Nothing beats the feeling of adrenaline that rushes throughout when you are on stage performing, and it makes every performing opportunity much more special,” said Carrington Moser, a student at the Orlando Molina Ballet Training Center located in Suwanee.

Moser’s adrenaline as well as her classical ballet skills were rewarded at Youth America Grand Prix’s Atlanta semifinals, held Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 at the Ferst Center on Atlanta’s Georgia Tech campus. Moser was awarded a Top 12 placement in the Women’s Senior Classical Division. And, with Gwinnett resident and fellow OMBTC student Calen Babaz, placed third in the Ensemble Division.

Babez, 18, also tied for third place in the Overall Senior Classical Category.

The center enjoyed many successes in this very prestigious dance competition which is international in scope.

Of equal importance to the Classical Category, the competition also features dancers in the Contemporary Dance Category, and OMBTC’s Courtney Johnson,16, was awarded a Top 12 placement in the combined men’s and women’s Senior Contemporary Dance category.

Johnson gives Molina credit for her own success and that of his other students.

Said Johnson, “Mr. Orlando cares about our progression as humans just as much as he cares about our progression as dancers. Even at a stressful competition such as YAGP, he creates a positive environment and mentality for the dancers.”

There were other winners from OMTC. Tristan Barron, 16, was among the Top 24 in the Overall Senior Classical Category. Hannah Patterson, 13, placed in the Top 24 Junior Women Classical Category, as did Lucia Fornos, also 13.

Tristan Barron said, “(The competition) was so fun, I was able to notice my improvement a lot since last year thanks to my amazing teacher Orlando Molina.”

Lucia Fornos agreed: “Mr. Orlando has not only given me the wonderful opportunity to attend YAGP but I could not be more thankful for the incredible training and support and guidance and words of wisdom that prepared me that was amazing”

Orlando Molina was also given the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award in a tie with two teachers from the International City School of Ballet in Georgia.

Orlando Molina Ballet Training Center was not the only studio from Gwinnett that enjoyed participating at the competition. Teacher and coach Olivia Mott took two dancers from Southern Ballet Theatre to the competition, Rachel Guillory, 17, and Emily Kirk, 14. Both dancers are Gwinnett residents.

Mott said, “This is my first time coaching students for Youth America Grand Prix. The entire experience was amazing. Leading up to the competition, my students and I were in the studio rehearsing nonstop. What the girls gained as participants, the improvement and confidence boost, was such a rewarding feeling for them as students, and for me as a teacher seeing the improvement happen so quickly.”

For more information about the Youth America Grand Prix, visit www.yago.org. For information about Orlando Molina Ballet Training Center visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OMBtrainingcenter, and for information about Southern Ballet Theatre, visit www.southernballettheatre.com/

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Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@ mindspring.com.

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