TNT Competitive Edge dance team is heading to national competition

Hailey Benson age 13; Amelia Benson age 9; Annabelle Tasker age 10; Kirstin Clawson age 10; Sophia Santiago age 13; Jaylenn Cugno age 18; Stella Patterson age 13 and Jayla Jandreau age 13.

by Mark Huard

Competitive Edge Dance Team is a group of young dancers based out of TNT Dance Studio, on the Center Road, in Fairfield. The Studio began as Terri’s School of Dance and was founded by Theresa “Terri” Glidden 50 years ago. It is now owned and operated by Terri’s daughter, Tiffany Glidden, and Jesse Klein. They started competitive dancing 30 years ago when Tiffany was a young child and they have continued to build a strong team of competitive dancers ever since. This year is not any different, as they are setting out to take the stage at Dance Ovations Nationals, on Cape Cod, for the week of June 26 – 30. The team has traveled all over New England this year and qualified for this national competition by competing in the regional event in Stratham, New Hampshire, in early May. They have worked all year and engaged in multiple fundraising events to be able to compete at this level.

Currently eight members strong, the team is comprised of athletes from the age of to 10 to 18. Dance Competitions are broken up by age, skill level and genre. They can compete in solo divisions, small group, large group and duo/trios. The main choreographers for TNT’s Competitive Edge team are Tiffany Glidden, Kali Vashon, and Terri Glidden. The team meets at least weekly as a team to practice their routines, listen to critiques from previous competitions and attempt to perfect technique and gain stamina. To compete on a national stage requires a commitment to excellence, discipline, sacrifice, and perseverance by the coaches and their athletes. Based on the results of the Dance Ovations Regional event, the following dances qualified for a special “Dance On” competition during Nationals, due to their high scoring placements:

Mechanical Dolls (a ballet routine choreographed by Tiffany Glidden for Annabelle Tasker age 10 and Kirstin Clawson age 10); Stepsisters Lament (a musical theater routine choreographed by Kali Vashon for Jayla Jandreau, Hailey Benson, and Stella Patterson, all 13 years old); All Aboard (choreographed by Terri Glidden for Sophia Santiago, Jayla Jandreau, Hailey Benson and Stella Patterson, all age 13) and finally The Letter (choreographed by Kali Vashon for Jaylenn Cugno, age 18, Sophia Santiago, Jayla Jandreau, Hailey Benson, and Stella Patterson, all age 13).

In addition to the qualifying routines, TNT has two dancers that qualified to compete in the Titleist Competition. These dancers – Sophia Santiago, age 13, and Jaylenn Cugno, age 18 – qualified by scoring in the top three of their respective solo divisions. Sophia is a seventh grader at Lawrence Jr. High School, in Fairfield, and is performing an acro/lyrical routine called Butterfly Fly Away that is choreographed by Kali Vashon. Jaylenn is a senior at Skowhegan Area High School, and is performing a contemporary routine called I am What I am, that is choreographed by Terri Glidden. Both dancers will engage in different events throughout the week such as interviews and opening number rehearsals with a large group of top soloists from all over the country.

In addition to an incredible amount of hard work, these dancers can attend these events due to their generous sponsors including: National Level Sponsor: Heavy Machines LLC; Competition Level Sponsors: S&K Heating, RDA Automotive and Zimba Corp; Convention Level Sponsors: Sackett & Brake Survey, Inc., Cappzas Pizza and Mattingly Products Co; Donors: Stan’s Fries, Key Appliance, Freihoffers, Cervesas, Pour House Pub, The Apple Farm, Harvest Moon Deli, Computer Improvements, Rebecca Cayford, ESQ, Rita’s Pizza, Johnny’s Seeds, Emery’s Meats, China Way, Pizza Hut, Autozone, Tin Knocker Signworks, and The Magic of Conjuring Carroll.


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