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Dancer recognized in national competition

Sophie Harp of Clarkston displays national medals she earned for her dance routine. Photo by Laura DuCharme (click for larger version)
July 09, 2014 - BY LAURA DUCHARME

Special to the Clarkston News

Sophie Harp, an incoming third grade student at Bailey Lake Elementary, was recognized for her dancing with the National PTA Reflections program. She did a lyrical routine to "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson. The theme to this year's competition was "Dream, Believe, Inspire." On the national level, Harp was one of three winners from Michigan.

The National PTA Reflections program allows students across America to become more involved in the arts through the competition. Students enter the competition in choreography, photography, film, literature, music or visual arts. The students are separated into different categories, including their age and the type of art they do.

Harp has been dancing for five years. She does many different styles, including jazz, hip-hop and lyrical but when asked what her favorite was, she instantly answered "tap."

This was the first contest she entered by herself and she made up the routine herself. The first step of the PTA Reflections program is the school level. Harp sent a tape to Bailey Lake Elementary PTA president, Arina Bokas. Her tape passed at the school level, then the state level, and then her tape went to the national level.

"Mom told me not to overreact when I made it past the national level," said Harp. "It was exciting, but she didn't want me to feel bad if I didn't win."

Harp won the Award of Excellence for her choreography. With so much success on her first solo competition, it seems like she would be eager to enter another competition.

"I'd consider it," said Harp with a huge grin on her face.

The PTA competition happens every year, which gives Harp more opportunities to compete with her own choreography.

Harp dances at Juliana's Academy of Dance and dedicates a lot of time there. During the school year, she spends eight hours a week in the studio, over four days. In the summer, she still dances three days a week.

Having competitions with her studio helped her prepare for her PTA award. She had won awards before for dance, but not on her own choreography. Just this year alone, she was in three competitions with her studio.

Harp sees no signs of stopping dance anytime soon. She has big dreams.

"I want to keep dancing until I'm an adult," said Harp. "I want to go to school in New York and be a Rockette."

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