Windermere High student finishes in top 5 in national dance competition | Southwest Orange

Since she was a little girl, Ava Madara’s heart has belonged to the stage.

The oldest of Windermere High has been dancing since she was little, and her love of the arts grew as she discovered singing and acting through musical theater.

It’s also paying off: Ava recently finished in the top five in BroadwayWorld’s Next On Stage: Dance Edition competition. Sponsored by LaDuca – who creates shoes especially for dancers – the competition highlights talented young musical theater dancers.

BroadwayWorld announced the competition in August, inviting students to submit videos of themselves dancing to a song from musical theater canon. Ava competed in the high school age group. It was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I think it’s such a great expression, and being on stage, for me, is just the rawest form of myself.” —Ava Madara

“I’m still watching BroadwayWorld, I’m still on Playbill, I’m still looking for all of these musical theater websites to see if there are any auditions or scholarship opportunities,” Ava said. “I saw that and I was like, ‘Oh, I have to put a video. It’s the first time they’ve done this.

The contest received hundreds of entries, and those who moved on to the next round each week had a weekend to record and submit a new song in a specific theme for the next round. Among the pieces Ava submitted as she played each round were her renditions of “There’s Something Better Than That” from “Sweet Charity”, “An American in Paris” and “Mein Herr” from “Cabaret”.

Each week was a surprise as Ava and her family waited to see if she would move on to the next round. She was first in the top 15.

“(My family and I) were freaking out at the computer when they said my name,” Ava said. “It’s a little scary sometimes, because you’re like, ‘Am I going to do this? Am I not going to make it? ‘ I was so grateful to be in the top 15. Continuing to hear my name over and over again every week was really cool. It was a really nice feeling.

Once in the top 10, BroadwayWorld featured weekly live shows on Facebook with Broadway judges, who provided their commentary.

Ava Madara is a senior at Windermere High. (Courtesy photo)

“Hearing Broadway choreographers say my name, recognize me and give me feedback on my dance – it was such a rewarding feeling as a dancer,” she said. “I never thought I would be in contact with Phil LaDuca, and the fact that he watched and criticized my dance is just amazing.”

Overall, Ava placed in the top five – a feat in itself. Although she was not in the top three, she is grateful for the opportunity to compete and learn from the best.

“I received incredible feedback from the Broadway directors and choreographers who entered the competition, and I think this exhibit was really amazing and really helpful in starting my career as a comedian as I left high school. “said Ava. “To be in the top five is insane, though. … I think that’s such a great expression, and being on stage, for me, is just the rawest form of myself.

Now Ava is focusing her efforts on applying to her top schools for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. She also hopes to become a minor in dance and business. Her advice to others for her is to pay attention to your storytelling on stage.

“My biggest tip is to show who you are in front of the camera because one of the most important things the judges would say to everyone is, ‘We know you have the turns, we know you have the jumps. , we know you have the technique. It’s (more on) “Who are you and what do you give when you play?” How do you really sell this performance and show who you are? ‘ I thought it was really helpful. The way you tell the story is the most important part. And I really took that to heart when shooting my videos over the weeks.

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