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The last dance

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Mari Lou Sharp, 18, completes a turn during a routine at the senior’s last rehearsal at Vicki’s School of Dance studio last weekend. The eight graduating seniors will perform their final dance this Saturday during the studio’s annual spring recital.

Vicki’s School of Dance seniors cap off season with annual recital

Vicki’s School of Dance is hard at work preparing for its annual spring dance recital this weekend.

It’s the biggest performance of the year and they’re taking over the CenturyLink Center for two toe-tapping, high energy productions. For the senior performers, Saturday’s performances will be their last time on stage as a Vicki’s Dancer and the last chance to dance beside the girls they’ve literally grown up with.

The first of this year’s seniors to join Vicki’s were Mari Lou Sharp and Macy Bedingfield at the age of three.

“I remember learning the prissy walk and doing it around my house,” Mari Lou said as she recalled her earliest memories of dance.

Then Emily Richardson, Annalese Allison and Kaleigh Key joined the studio at age four. Annaleese said she loved to dance, but she was still very shy.

However, things are much different 13 years later.

Vicki’s School of Dance seniors are (left to right) Kaleigh Key, 18; Keriden Creech, 18; Emily Richardson, 18; Mari Lou Sharp, 18; Andi Gugliuzza, 18; Emily DiGiacomo, 17; Annalese Allison, 17; and Macy Bedingfield, 18.
Vicki’s School of Dance seniors are (left to right) Kaleigh Key, 18; Keriden Creech, 18; Emily Richardson, 18; Mari Lou Sharp, 18; Andi Gugliuzza, 18; Emily DiGiacomo, 17; Annalese Allison, 17; and Macy Bedingfield, 18.

“It has really brought me out of my shell,” she said with a smile.

Rounding out the senior group is Emily DiGiacomo, Andi Gugliuzza and Keriden Creech. Through the years, the girls have not only strengthened their minds and bodies through dance and, but developed a friendship and special bond through their love of the sport.

The Bossier City based studio has been a community business for more than four decades. In that time, owner Vicki Fulghum has seen generations of dancers pass through the studio doors.

She runs the studio, located at 1020 Chinaberry Drive, with daughters Sara Fulghum, instructor/business director, and Melanie Fulghum, instructor/choreographer. Vicki said these eight seniors are among the legacy of the studio she created in 1970.

“They work hard together, they are very creative and they are very good leaders,” she said.

Vicki’s School of Dance encourages individuality and uniqueness in each child, focusing on building not only great dancers but ultimately great people. Their goal is to teach each child the fundamentals of dance training while also having fun.

Recital week is essentially all about the kids and done for the kids. Fulghum said it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.

A yearly tradition at recital is the senior dance, where seniors are allowed to pick their music and dance techniques that really showcase their best moves.

The dance is not only a tribute to their years at the studio, but a symbolic passing of the group off to the next seniors.

Fulghum hopes that each senior will enjoy this week, their last recital week,

“This is what you’ve worked so hard for,” she said to her senior girls. “This is your time to shine. You’ve been given a work ethic to work hard at everything you do. You have what it takes to succeed in this world.”

Vicki’s School of Dance recital will be Saturday, May 31. Performances are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets for both shows can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center or online at www.ticketmaster.com.