High Steppin‘ Dance Academy takes home many awards at competition


It’s fitting that High Steppin’ Dance Academy has moved – and expanded – into a 6,000-square foot facility located at 1465 Atwood Ave. in Johnston.

The youngsters who recently represented the academy in the Kids Artistic Review competition in Torrington, Conn., reached much higher heights than the 20-foot ceilings inside owner/director Jo-Ann Fontaine’s new workplace.

The High Steppin’ team racked up 45 High Point Awards out of a possible 75 routines during the recent competition, and brought home a reputation as one of the most diversified and talented squads in Rhode Island.

And that’s because Fontaine – who has a growing number of students – has a highly motivated group of instructors and is reportedly on the fast track to become one of the largest and most successful dance schools in the state.

“Our instructors are continuously devoted to pushing themselves and the students to the limit,” Fontaine said. “Hard work is never finished, and learning is forever.”

That approach resulted in High Steppin’ Dance’s recent unmatched success in the Connecticut competition, and Fontaine also received rave reviews from a number of opposing dance team coaches and instructors.

“I couldn’t be more proud of all our students,” Fontaine said. “A director from a Long Island studio we competed against told me, ‘Your kids and teachers are amazing; they’re also very nice.’”

High Steppin’ Dance Academy brought home awards for Top Production, Top Superline, Top Primary Student and Top Secondary Studio, along with four out of a possible six huge trophies that are now on display at the Johnston-based club.

Alicia Burghardt, one of the many talented troupers at High Steppin’ Dance, was recipient of the prestigious Miss Dance 2014 title, while Vanessa Schecher was runner-up. Scott Barber won Mr. Teen Dance 2014, and Xavier Cruz was runner-up.

Mikayla Albanese was crowned Miss Teen Dance 2014, and Isabella Casamassima was the Junior Miss Dance 2014 runner-up. Junior Mr. Dance runners-up were Roman Stanley, Matthias Barros and Lorenzo Settipane. Indira Barros won Petite Miss Dance 2014 runner-up.

Also winning a title and placing first overall in their respective age divisions were Jason Pincince, Petite Mr. Dance 2014, and Junior Mr. Dance 2014 Joey Acciardo.

One of the reasons High Steppin’ Dance won countless awards was, as Fontaine noted, “Our instructors are extremely versatile in their crafts, from jazz, lyrical and acrobatics to main stream and hip hop. They’re highly engaged and help our students reach their full potential in movement and musicality.”

Fontaine also emphasized that “our choreographers offer a lot more than just dance moves. Their many different styles and personalities contribute to the charismatic energy of the academy.”


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