Dearborn dancers earn national honors at Chicago convention

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Noretta Dunworth (center) congratulates Ashlyn Kelly (left) and Celine Abdallah, both students at her Dearborn studio, for their first place junior duet, “Statues,” at the Applause Talent National Competition in Chicago Thursday. “Statues” was choreographed by Dunworth’s daughter Loni Lane Padesky.

By Sue Suchyta
Noretta Dunworth, who celebrated seven decades of teaching dance Memorial Day weekend during her studio’s recital at Dearborn’s civic center, watched with pride Thursday as her students continued to earn awards at the Applause Talent National Convention in Chicago.

At press time the studio, which began the competition on Wednesday planned to compete through Sunday at the Genessee Theatre in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan.

The studio’s staff and students received several significant honors Thursday.

Loni Lane Padesky, Dunworth’s daughter and current studio director and owner, was honored for her innovative choreography.

Studio graduate DJ Folk received a student choreography award as well as second place in the senior division for his innovative tap solo. The graduating high school senior plans to move to New York City in the fall to teach tap, audition for shows and continue his studies.

Other studio students winning major awards included Amy Yakima, for first place and high score senior solo of the day. Yakima, who has studied dance at the Noretta Dunworth School of Dance in Dearborn most of her life, saw her younger sisters Lauren and Emma receive honors in the junior and teen categories, respectively, as well.

Amy has been a featured performer in both the Detroit and New York City Radio City Christmas Spectacular shows, and has earned numerous national dance titles.

Katie Suchyta received first place overall for her musical theater solo in the senior recreation division category. The Dearborn native will be a senior at Livonia Ladywood in the fall, and has been a featured dancer in musicals at the Players Guild of Dearborn.

Ashlyn Kelly and Celine Abdallah won first place honors Thursday for their junior level duet, “Statues,” which was choreographed by Padesky.

Four of the teen category Dearborn dance students were in the top 10 solo teen division award winners Thursday as well. Noah Field took ninth place, while Natalie Catalino took seventh place. Emma Yakima took fourth place for her solo, while her duet partner, Andrea Bess, took third place for her solo.

Guildlings’ ‘School House Rock Live! Jr.’ youth ensemble announced
The Players Guild of Dearborn has announced the Guildling ensemble cast list for its musical summer youth production of “School House Rock! Jr.” Based on the ABC-TV educational animated series which aired from the 1970s to 1980s, the show will start at 7:30 p.m. July 16 to 18, and 23 to 25. Tickets are $5, with open seating.

The ensemble cast members, who perform in multiple numbers, include Michael Bollman, Molly Boudreau, Jacob Danke, Bella Fothergill and Miranda Fothergill.

Also featured are Joe Gaber, Brooke Gehringer, Nick Gencarelli, Cole and Ian Hass, Quinn Higgins and Dominic Johnson.

Marco Johnson, Maddie Kaplan, Jared, Ryan and Sabreena Klann, Allison Koehler, Olivia McPherson and Hannah Mitchell also lend their talents to the summer show.

Alanah and Max Nancoff, and Joshua and Johanna and Soshanna Nimmo are part of the team, as are Emily Pletzer and Emma Scott.

Ky’la Sims and Adriana and Maria Viscomi are also in the cast.

For more information, go to the Guild Website at, or call (313) 561-TKTS.

WSU offers youth theater summer day camp
Tina Boykins, the founder of Wayne State University’s youth theater intensive day camp, will accept 36 applicants for this year’s camp, and will take registrations until the slots are filled.

Boykins, who has a master’s degree in Theatre Management from WSU, realizes the importance of acting experience as a skill that helps young people handle life’s challenges. The weeklong camp aims to meet this need while children have fun and explore their onstage talent.

The camp will take place July 12 to 16 at WSU. All classes and workshops, including acting, script writing, and directing, will be taught and led by experienced actors, writers and directors from the Detroit area.

Students will present an original final performance at 6 p.m. July 16 at the WSU Student Center Multimedia Theatre. The event will be open to the public for a nominal fee.

The camp will accept students age 9 to 17 who live in the metropolitan Detroit area. The day camp has no provisions to house out-of-area applicants.

The camp will be offered for free to students who participate in organized fund-raising efforts, or for $115 per enrolled student. Scholarships and flexible payment plans are available.

Registration will remain open until all 36 spots are filled. All other students will be placed on a waiting list.

For more information about the camp, or to register a student, contact Tina Boykins by phone at (313) 355-8423 or by e-mail at