FARMINGTON — Pink and purple plaques and trophies cover a wall at Dance Connection studio in Farmington. In the very center is a purple plaque with the words "Star Dance Alliance."
It is an award about half a dozen girls won for their routine "Doll Collection" performed during the Star Power Competition in Albuquerque earlier this month.
Dance Connection and Aztec's Pointe of Grace Dance Academy attended the competition and both studios left with awards recognizing their dancers' talents.
Amanda Downs, a Dance Connection instructor, choreographed the "Doll Collection" routine.
Downs said the routine was based on her younger sister's fear of dolls. It was one of 19 pieces that the studio took to the competition.
In it, the dancers portray dolls.
"We start out kind of sweet and innocent," Catherine Chambers, 15, said.
"We get kind of mean and creepy," Caitlyn Graham, 11, added.
Chambers said the dolls interact with each other and with the audience.
The dancers and teachers agree that one of the "creepiest" dolls is the one portrayed by Zoie Herring, 12.
"I just get to mouth the words and stare at people," Herring said.
The dancers each pick a certain person in the audience to stare at while performing. Chambers said she picked the fourth judge.
"They're all very committed to their characters," Downs said.
This commitment started in August when the students auditioned to join the team. It paid off at competition.
The studio was invited to attend the world championships in Meadowlands, N.J., to perform "Doll Collection." At the Albuquerque competition, only two dance routines were selected to compete in the world championships. The girls said they were just happy to compete.
"I love performing, so I think that was my favorite part," Chambers said.
The Starpower Competition was one of two competitions Pointe of Grace Dance Academy competed in this year. The studio also competed in Showstoppers in February.
During the competitions, Pointe of Grace had two group dances to perform. The routines Wild Jungle and Uncaged placed in large-group category. Uncaged took second place in the category while Wild Jungle took third place and second place in costumes.
In Showstoppers, the two routines also topped the charts, but in the opposite order.
Stepheny Stone choreographed Uncaged. She said the Uncaged choreography was inspired by a dream she had. The dance is based on a Cirque du Soleil routine. She sketched out an idea for a bird cage prop, which the girls would dance within. Then she asked some of the dancers' fathers to build the cage.
Dancers in the cage show off their acro skills. Stone said acro is a combination of trick gymnastics, dance and flexibility.
"The acro that they do in the cage is amazing," Stone said. "They show an amazing amount of flexibility and strength."