(SAVANNAH, Mo.) -- The Turning Point Dance Academy in Savannah has "turned out" a national champion.
Savannah High School Mackenzie Hoover, 16, a member of the dance academy, recently won her age division at the Talent on Parade dance competition in Las Vegas.
For Hoover, she says every time she goes out onto the dance floor is like going to another world.
"I just like the feeling I get when I dance. It's like escape, freedom," she said.
Hoover said she's been dancing for eight years, going through four-hour practices twice per week. Her national award shows that dedication has paid off.
"It's a really great feeling to work so hard and put it all out there and get good results," Hoover said.
Jillian Helton, Hoover's coach and proprietor of Turning Point Dance Academy, says there's an extra something that Hoover brings to the dance floor that puts her ahead of other dancers.
"She's so good technically, but something that really sets her apart from other dancers is the emotional side of it," Helton said. "The way she connects with an audience is unexplainable."
Hoover says she makes an extra point to emotionally connect to the music she dances to.
"You have to be strong mentally," Hoover said. "You just have to think about everything that I've put in my life and compare it to dance and then wrap them together."
The trophy Hoover earned in Las Vegas is taller than the 5'4" that Hoover stands. For both she and coach Helton, it is a great sense aof pride.
"It's an overwhelming feeling and it's unexplainable," Helton said describing the feeling she gets while watching Hoover perform on stage. "I can't put into words what goes through our minds when something like that happens."
Hoover says her ultimate dream would be to some day perform with Cirque de Soleil in Las Vegas.
HOOVER SAYS HER ULTIMATE DREAM WOULD BE TO DANCE FOR CIRQUE DE SOLEIL IN LAS VEGAS SOME DAY.
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