Dancers head to championship

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dancers from Margie's Dance Studio who will take part in halftime ceremonies at Monday's BCS National Championship game in New Orleans are: (front, from left) Lizzie Reeves, Zannesha Booker, Lauren Barnes, Jordan Cruz, (second row, from left) Shonovia Phillips, Jurni Owden, Margie Burke, Erica Friday, Ashley Frida, (third row, from left) Paullesia Crum, Leslie Schroeder, Kayla Rooks, Sarah Reeves, Sarah Frasier and Marley House. Selma Mayor George Evans, pictured in back, wished the dancers luck when meeting with them Monday at their studio. -- Tim Reeves

A local dance studio is preparing to perform on college football’s biggest stage.

Dancers from Margie’s Dance Studio in Selma will perform at halftime of the BCS National Championship game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama in New Orleans on Monday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Margie Burk, owner and operator of Margie’s Dance Studio since 1980, said it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that the girls won’t soon forget.

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“This is the first time they’ve ever performed for anything this big, of course, and I am very excited about the fact that they have been offered this opportunity,” Burk said. “I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for these girls. I think it’s something that will create a memory that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and I’m very proud of Selma as well as their parents for being so supportive in making that opportunity a reality.”

Burk said the studio is sending 14 dancers, all high school age, who attend different schools from around Selma and Dallas County.

“They are representing several high schools,” Burk said. “We have Selma High, Dallas County High, Ellwood Christian Academy and Morgan Academy.”

Burk said Bowl Games of America contacted the studio back in September 2010 about performing at the title game.

Burk said she’s worked on coordinating costumes, accommodations, choreography and itinerary over that time.

The studio has also been gathering the funds necessary to make the dream come true.

“We’ve done a lot of fundraising. We’ve received a lot of contributions from friends, family and businesses,” Burk said. “We’ve worked several fund raising projects and we have managed to raise enough money to pay, in full, each of our girl’s way. We’ve raised enough for their outfits, their rehearsals, their travel and we’ve even raised enough money to charter a bus, so that we can all travel together.”

The group will leave Selma on Friday, Jan. 6 at 8 a.m. and the dancers will have their first meeting with their choreographer on that evening. They will then work Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday and will have a dress rehearsal on Monday. They will be the only group from the state of Alabama among 200 total performers at the title game, along with only one group from Louisiana.

It’s something Burk said created a little bit of humor in conversations while planning the event.

“Kiddingly, directors have said they will divide the room and let Alabama be on one side and the Louisiana group be on the other side, so that LSU fans will be on the same side and Alabama fans will be on the same side,” Burk laughed.

But I think that makes it even more special that there is a football team from our state that will be playing and that we get to be a part of that. I think that’s just fantastic.”

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