Second annual Mud City Dance Off gives youth a chance to shine

Royalty Dance Team -mid routine, they are the winners of the 2017 dance off.

North Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)--

"They're all talented in their natural ability and all we're doing is cultivating that talent and putting them under showcase for the city and as well for bigger platforms," said Shawanda Johnson a full time choreographer and the owner of Famed Dance Studio.

She's also one of the coordinators for the 2nd annual Mud City Dance Off --a way for kids to get creative and competitive.

"The Arts Commission has just been trying to help make more positive things happen in the community," said Ryan Bunch communications representative for the Commission. "We've been partnering with neighbors,in this case neighbors from North Toledo , who wanted to do a dance competition."

Four teams of kids ages 2-16 got to compete against one another, but not just for trophies.The dancers were vying for studio time and a chance to get their name recognized, which Daryana Porter, 16 and captain of Royalty dance team, says is what it's all about.

"Our first competition ever, just getting that name out there you know Royalty, Royalty we did that."

The dance off is funded in part by the Ohio Arts Council and City of Toledo youth commissioner Alicia Smith. We talked with the man behind the operation David Ross, who said they use events like these for one purpose: "to help our artists to become leaders in the community."

It's also a way to put the spotlight on community resources like the Ohio Theater where the event was held.

"We're trying to get things going, so that Lagrange Street can sort of have a revitalization same as the rest of downtown" said Bunch.

Along with bragging rights winners also get a paid 2 months free studio time which Johnson says is especially beneficial.

"Everybody wants those hours, that training, that educational time that consists of a lot of time which consists of a lot of money."

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