UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV)--A group of dancers from Maria Christina's School of Dance recently won a national competition.
The group of dancers worked together to earn a the win at a competition in Alantic City, N.J.
But the dancers faced many challenges before they even took to the stage.
The dancers had never competed in a national competition until this summer. The group worked on five different dances throughout the summer to in order to prepare.
But after one dancer could no longer compete, the group was forced to use an understudy. They were also up against hundreds of seasoned competitors.
"It makes you look at other dancers and it makes you strive to do better to improve yourself, work on your own technique" said owner and dance instructor Maria Barresi. "You go back in the studio and work harder I have to turn smoother, I have to jump higher I have to be more stable. It's makes them grow."
During practice over the summer, the group also had to deal with a tornado touching down near the studio in North Utica. It ripped out power lines and left the dancers working in the dark.
Despite these setbacks, the dancers took home the number one spot earning the 'Beyond the Stars' award.
"It gave everyone so much more confidence," said 16-year-old Marti Masone. "We won something so big that we never did before and it was just a great learning experience."