Outside the doors of the annual Coca-Cola Talent Classic at the Kentucky State Fair this weekend stood a row of displays of past winners of the prestigious competition, greeting attendees of the finals, which, featuring the twenty remaining contestants, took place at 7:00 Saturday night.
YPAS majors Tyler Johnson-Campion (11), Erica Shuler (9), Audrey Bell Adams (9), and Miranda Yount (12) all performed in the competition this year. Yount won the grand prize and $1200 in prize money; Johnson-Campion’s group won first prize and a total of $800 in prize money.
Johnson-Campion, Bell Adams, and Shuler, all part of the Dazzlers team from Dancensation Studios, performed an original tap dance to the song “Are You Ready for a Miracle.”
Johnson-Campion said the group was especially motivated the evening of the competition because one of their dance instructors, Sandra Rivera, had been hospitalized. “We wanted to show how much we loved her by killing this dance,” he said.
Johnson-Campion also said the group had kept this particular dance under wraps in previous other competitions as a “secret weapon.” “It’s our secret best dance. [But] compared to other competitions we’ve done this dance in, this was the one that I think my group wanted to win the most,” he said. “This time I felt like it was the best time my group has ever performed [it]. Every single person gave 140%.” This was the first time the Dazzlers made it to the finals of the competition, he said.
Yount choreographed and performed an original dance to the song “Everytime,” covered by Colm Maclomaire and Glen Hansard. It was the first time she had entered the Coca-Cola Talent Classic at all.
“I actually made up this solo just a week before the performance, so I only practiced it about three times,” Yount said. “Before the performance I was definitely nervous. I was running purely on butterflies and adrenaline. But right when I got on stage they thankfully all disappeared,” she said.
The Coca-Cola Talent Classic begins with a series of preliminary rounds, followed by ten separate semifinal “sessions” in which several performers compete in front of judges, who determine first, second, and third place for each. First and second place winners advance to the final competition.
“When the announcer said my name my mouth literally dropped to the floor. I was so shocked. There were so many talented people there. It still hasn’t even hit me that I actually won,” Yount said. “Since I’m a senior the money will sadly be going to college. But maybe I can take some of it and do a little shopping for myself.”
View a complete video of the Coca-Cola Talent Classic finals here. (Miranda Yount performs at 23:00; the Dazzlers perform at 1:08:30.)