By Crystal Lynn, Chicago Crusader
Asia’s Dance Factory (ADF), one of Gary’s only competitive dance teams, has been diligently practicing and the hard work has paid off! The 2016-2017 competition, performance, and mini teams have wrapped up a successful year with multiple wins. The season jumped off with an opening performance at the Bulls-Raptors game on Valentine’s Day. Asia showcased all of her dance students to a lifetime experience; her three teams: competition, performance, and minis, as well as her Banneker Achievement Center dance group.
Asia Dickens is a product of the dance program at Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Gary. She has trained with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and was a LuvaBull cheerleader for three years. Asia started her dance teaching career in an afterschool program at Banneker in 2012. With the parents and dancers demanding more, Asia started a summer program in July 2012 and in 2015 formed her first competition dance team.
Asia teaches a variety of styles from contemporary to hip hop, and jazz.
Asia also brings in dance instructors from across the nation to consistently challenge and encourage her dancers to excel including Briana Robinson, an Emerson and Julliard grad, Candice Savage (from Tinashe’ and Empire), and Renaldo Maurice, former Emerson dance major, now a dancer with Alvin Ailey.
On the weekend of April 7-9 her teams ended the season with a bang! Three dance performances and three of the highest awards possible! The mini team, which is her smallest and youngest group of dancers, came home with an undefeated season. Between Asia’s mini team, competition team and performance team they competed in five different competitions this season.
It’s never an easy task traveling from state to state to compete against teams that have competed for years, but ADF works hard to constantly raise the bar for itself and showcase Gary’s talent.
What started off last year as one team competing in one competition has expanded to three teams competing in five competitions this year. Dancers are not the only ones committed to Asia’s vision, it takes a village of support to make it all work. ADM is Moms, Dads, grand-mas, aunts and friends who travel with the team to cheer them on and get them to and from practices and performances.
While the 2017 competition season has ended, the work has not ceased. The ADF dancers are now preparing for “The Wiz” by West Side Theater Guild, directed by Mark Spencer. Performances will begin April 26, 2017 in West Side’s Little Theater.
Asia’s Dance Factory has been recognized by several organizations for dedication to our kids. ADF won top honors in the 2015 and 2016 Gary 4th of July parade, and in the 2016 Merrillville 4th of July parade.
Asia pushes life skills as her center’s purpose and mission to her dancers, “Teaching one how to dance is simply a by-product,” Asia goes on to say, “to instill life skills will enable our young people to contribute to society in magnificent ways.”
The ADF 2017 Summer Camp registration is now open. Details for the summer camp can be found through asiasdancefactory.com. The summer camp is the opportunity for experienced and curious dancers to take their skill to the next level.
The dance camp will take place from June 19 to July 21 at the ADF studio, 3737 Broadway.