Ciemiewicz places first at Virtual National Dance Championship

Ciemiewicz places first at Virtual National Dance Championship

Alyssa Ciemiewicz (12) performs a leap as part of her dance routine for the Virtual National Dance Championship. Ciemiewicz placed first in the solo dance category. (Photo Courtesy of Karen Moore)

As the announcer counted down the top ten dancers, Alyssa Ciemiewicz’s (12) heart was racing as she sat in front of her computer screen, anxiously anticipating the announcement of the Virtual National Dance Champion. 

From tenth to second place, there was no mention of Ciemiewicz. It was over, she thought. But right as she was about to shut down her computer, the announcement of “Alyssa Ciemiewicz, first place champion” came through the loudspeakers, her heart speeding up even faster at the sound of her name. 

Along with the rest of the Westview Dance Troupe, Ciemiewicz attended the seven-day Virtual National Dance Championship from April 27 to May 3. To compete for the title of Virtual National Dance Champion, soloists had to submit video footage of their past performances, and a panel of judges scored them accordingly.

Ciemiewicz entered a recording of a former solo she had performed earlier this year at a high school dance competition, entitled “Read All About It.” With her video going up against hundreds of other soloists, Ciemiewicz managed to come out on top and finish her final season on Westview Dance Troupe with a victory. 

“I definitely was not expecting this win,” Ciemiewicz said. “I thought I would have gotten ninth or tenth place, so when my name wasn’t called when the announcer got down to the second-place spot, I thought I didn’t place.”

Because this competition closed off the season, it was vital that Westview took home a win. Sending a recording of her performance in which she was most proud, Ciemiewicz effortlessly won the gold.

The fact that a virtual nationals was put together at such short notice, Ciemiewiecz said, made her and her team feel recognized for their year of hard work and dedication. 

“It feels rewarding to end my last year on Dance Troupe with such a big win,” she said. “I feel that the time I’ve spent on this team has paid off because this is an accomplishment that I have aimed for this entire competition season.” 

For Ciemiewicz, sharing her excitement of winning with her fellow teammates on Zoom made it so much more worthwhile. This win felt like a culmination of the four years that Ciemiewicz spent on Dance Troupe, and she owes it all to her team. 

“Hearing my team cheer for me over Zoom was the best feeling in the world,” Ciemiewicz said. “I can’t thank my coaches and my team enough for the encouragement and love they have brought me for the past four years.”

Ciemiewicz said that having to compete her solo by simply submitting an old videotape brought her a newfound love and appreciation for dancing. Whether it was virtual or face-to-face, Ciemiewicz said she is thankful that this competition gave her a platform to showcase her talent one last time before heading off to the University of Washington where she will be continuing her love of dance. 

“Having been a dancer since I was 2 years old, I sometimes take for granted the opportunities that dancing gives me,” Ciemiewicz said. “Being a part of the virtual nationals gave me the realization that dance is something that impacts my life so much. Even though I didn’t get to walk on stage for my solo performance, I’m just so happy that I got to compete one last time for Westview Dance Troupe.”

Ciemiewicz reacts to her first place win from her home, May 3. Her mother was in the room to celebrate with her when she got the news.