FARMINGTON — For the last decade, Mann Dance Academy's advanced students have performed in a national dance competition in Albuquerque.

Thursday night, San Juan County residents can preview the dances students will perform at the Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance Competition during "An Evening of Dance" at San Juan College.

The Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance Competition, which is April 4 to 6 this year, attracts more than 300 studios, said Judy Mann, the Farmington studio's owner. At last year's competition, Mann Dance Academy received the Dare to be Different Award for its modern dance routine and was chosen as one of the three top studios.

Emma Paul rehearses on Tuesday for "An Evening of Dance" at Mann Dance Academy in Farmington.
Emma Paul rehearses on Tuesday for "An Evening of Dance" at Mann Dance Academy in Farmington. (Jon Austria /The Daily Times)

Mann said the studio will take about 50 dancers, who were chosen throughout the year, to the next month's competition. Cathy Roe categories include solo, duets and trios, small group, large group, line and grade line.

Mann said the academy likes the annual competition because "it focuses on the art of dance."

Six of the studio's dance instructors choreographed around 40 solos for this year's competition.

"Those students who really work hard enough to get their solos in top shape get to attend," Mann said.

Those dancers are mainly high school students, though some middle and elementary school dancers will also perform.

Cherelle Tucker, 16, has been dancing for 13 years and will perform a solo at Cathy Roe. While Tucker cannot remember why she started dancing, she knows why she has continued.

"Something that kept me dancing was that I love it," she said.

It was this love of dance that got her through months of polishing her solo piece, which has difficult choreography. She said it is challenging for her to match the emotions of the dance, which range from sad to happy.

Judy Mann, the owner of Mann Dance Academy, talks with her dance students during rehearsal on Tuesday on at the Farmington studio.
Judy Mann, the owner of Mann Dance Academy, talks with her dance students during rehearsal on Tuesday on at the Farmington studio. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

One of the routines students will perform is "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. Students have been rehearsing "Brave," which is their jazz routine, for around three months.

After rehearsing Tuesday, Kahzia Small, 14, and a group of her classmates prepared to run through the routine one last time.

"I like the fact that we get to express what the song is saying through motion," Small said. "It really mirrors what I felt at one point this year."

Her classmate, Jasmine Wright, 13, said she also likes the song.

"Dance is about expressing your feelings," she said. "And that's sort of what the song's about, too."

IF YOU GO

What: An Evening of Dance 

When: 7 p.m. Thursday 

Where: Little Theater at San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington

 Tickets: At the door, $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors 

More info: Call 505-564-3845.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.