XENIA — A pair of local dance teams are hip-hopping to Florida for the The Cheerleading and Dance World Championship and will be showing off their moves Saturday in a send-off event at Central State.
The teams, coached by Xenia native Nikki Dinwiddie, are made up of Greene County girls who dance for the Heart of Ohio All-Stars in Xenia. The Black Diamonds will compete in the senior division for 15 to 18-year-olds while the Dynasty will compete in the international open, for ages 14-18.
It’s the fourth year teams from Heart of Ohio have qualified and the fourth year for the send-off, which starts at 6 p.m. Dynasty was third at the world championship last year, while the Black Diamonds were 13th. More than 3,500 dancers from all over the world will participate in the event at World Showplace Arena at EPCOT Center in Orlando.
“I’m excited to take this group of kids down with us,” Dinwiddie said. “They worked hard and deserved to be down there. We’re super honored to be able to represent or town and our country. We’re going to shoot for top 10.”
The send off will allow the two teams to show off the routines they will perform in Florida and will also give some visibility to other area teams.
“We allow all of our teams to do their final performance of the year,” Dinwiddie said. “We also invite other programs that do cheer and dance in the area. It’s a showcase of local talent for people in the community to see all the hard work these kids put in.”
Hard work is an understatement, especially in the week leading up to the world championship. Usually the teams will practice two or three times per week for approximately two hours, not including any fund-raising efforts.
“This week we’re going to practice every day,” Dinwiddie said.
The senior team will compete in the semifinals on April 26. The open team will compete on April 27. The finals for both are April 28.
The Black Diamonds team team consists of Xenia residents Valenna Esprit, Johnna Campbell, Kelsey Foster, Nataija Harris, Madde Sanders, Lauren Smith, Sara Luka, Hailey Wakefield, Adri Young, Montgomery Irvine, Beavercreek resident Morgan Turner and Jamestown resident Taylor Martin.
The Dynasty includes Esprit, Campbell, Smith, Luka, Irvine, Sanders, Young and Harris along with Xenia residents Alani Young, Alyeeah Young, Alisa Taylor, Sydney Irvine, Kierstin Butts, Anna Marie Hornick and Courtney Shuttleworth.
Chelsea Middleton in assistant coach on both teams.
Dinwiddie opened Heart of Ohio in 2009 and was a cheerleader and cheerleader coach for Xenia High School. She was also a cheerleader at the University of Cincinnati and has been on several all-star teams in addition to starting the Xenia high hip hop team.