"Dance Kids ATL" to Premiere on TLC

Sean Bankhead rehearses the group.

What do you get when you put devoted young hip-hoppers in a renowned training studio? Crazy, hard-hitting talent. And that’s what you’ll see on “Dance Kids ATL,” a new reality show that promises to serve up some serious moves by pint-sized prodigies.

The series’ pilot episode follows pre-professional dancers ages 9–16 as they prepare for the first competition of the season at Atlanta’s Dance 411 Studios. Celebrity choreographer Sean Bankhead gives students some tough moves—and tough love. Luckily, these kids aren’t afraid to work hard. In the teaser video (below), one tenacious 9-year-old describes Dance 411 as “the dance studio of America,” because alumni have gone on to work with commercial stars like Chris Brown and Usher. He adds, “I see myself going to the top.”

Will dance coach Tracey Berry feel the pressure to measure up to big personalities like Abby Lee Miller on “Dance Moms”? Will the looming, self-described “momager” watching rehearsal from the hallway stir up trouble? And most importantly, what kind of skills do these young, sassy movers have up their sleeves? Tune in to TLC on July 24 at 10/9c to find out!

Photo credit TLC

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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