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Stage Door Studios asks public to cast votes — and a spell while they’re at it

The Sarasota studio is up for its first-ever Industry Dance Award, but they need your help to win.

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  • | 2:57 p.m. July 26, 2018
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What if Harry Potter's magic came from his dance skills rather than his ability to cast spells?

Stage Door Studios’ dance team participates in four to five competitions every year, and one of those is Masquerade. In March, the team headed to Orlando to perform a Harry Potter-themed routine at the competition — a routine magical enough to make the final round of the People’s Choice category at the 2018 Industry Dance Awards.

The Industry Dance Awards & Cancer Benefit Show is an annual event that, while raising money for cancer research, recognizes dancers, educators and choreographers for their outstanding achievements and artistic contributions to the dance community.

After a selection process that sifts through every performance at nine national dance competitions and four dance conventions, Stage Door Studios’ “The Boy Who Lived” won the preliminary round and is now in the running for the 2018 People’s Choice Award. It's the first time the studio has made it to the final round for an Industry Dance Award.

But the group needs to garner enough online votes to take home the winning title.

“We’ve been nominated before but never think anything of it because nothing ever comes of it,” says Artistic Director Geena Ravella, who choreographed the routine. “To be honest, we were excited to even get the nomination — it doesn’t seem real.”

The concept for the routine, which starts off with the 38 robe-clad dancers traveling to Hogwarts and breaks into a sorting hat session in which each house gets its own song, grew out of Ravella’s own Harry Potter obsession. She and another teacher sat down for hours deciding on music, Ravella says, and finally chose a hip-hop song they thought could represent each house: “Black and Yellow” for Hufflepuff, “All I Do is Win” for Gryffindor, “Anaconda” for Slytherin and “Get Outta Your Mind” for Ravenclaw.

Probably 99% of her students in the dance are also Harry Potter fanatics, she says, which has made the experience more fun.

“They were telling me what house they should be in before I sorted them,” Ravella says with a laugh.

Industry Dance Awards is paying for Ravella and studio owner Jill Athridge to fly to California for the awards ceremony, which will take place Aug. 15 at The Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

“We’re excited to be able to go to Hollywood and represent our studio and Sarasota,” Ravella says. “For choreographers and studio owners, it’s almost like an amazing validation that we’re on the right track, we’re getting there. We’re innovative.”

Voting closes on July 31. To vote for Stage Door Studios’ “The Boy Who Lived,” click here.


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