Geneseo’s Kayla Anderson loves to dance and is getting national recognition for her abilities.

Geneseo’s Kayla Anderson loves to dance and is getting national recognition for her abilities.

Anderson, a seventh grader at Geneseo Middle School, competed at the Platinum Dance Competition, a national dance competition, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. June 25-29 where she captured top honors and was recognized in the competition’s gala.

Anderson placed first in her division with her solo, a lyrical dance to “I Can Only Imagine,” and was invited to dance her solo again in the gala, which features all the highest-scored performances.

“I was surprised at first that I made it to the gala, but excited to do my solo again,” she said.

Along with her solo, Anderson also performed two duets and 11 group dances. Her lyrical duet placed first overall in their division, and five of Anderson’s group dances placed in the overall and two received judges’ awards.

“I don’t know how I remember all the dances, it just comes naturally,” she said. “When I hear music it just comes naturally. When I first learn the dances, I can’t remember them so I watch the videos a lot and after a month I have it down.”

Anderson, who began dancing at the age of 2, dances for Above the Barre Dance Academy in Davenport, Iowa, and has competed in national competitions before, but the large crowds don’t seem to bother her.

“It is not really intimidating. I am use to it,” she said. “I don’t focus on the number of studios or the crowd, but the dances.”

While at nationals, Anderson and her dance studio compete against numerous studios from all over the U.S., and even though it is a competition, it is also a learning experience.

“We see other dancers and get inspired,” said Anderson. “Then our studio tries to duplicate the dances we’ve seen and builds on them from there.”

Anderson’s favorite part of nationals was having her solo the highest scored dance.

“When I found out I took first I was very excited and shocked, too,” she said. “We are always told nationals is a lot tougher so we raise the bar and do the best we can.”

Dancing is a year-round commitment for Anderson, and it is paying off as she says she notices differences in her style and abilities from when she started.

Anderson practices at Above the Barre four days a week — Mondays and Tuesdays practicing technique and taking classes in hip hop, lyrical, jazz, ballet and tap; Thursdays practicing group dances; and Saturdays practicing solos and duets.

“I really enjoy that I can express myself and dancing comes naturally,” she said. “It is fun and I enjoy it.”

Anderson said the biggest challenge for her is learning the new dances and perfecting them.

“A lot of the time I really want to go to dance because I enjoy it,” she said. “I want to see it all the way through.”

Anderson is currently learning new choreography and competitions will start again in January and February.