Cami Voorhees’ “Knives Out” Wins Top Dance Awards in Orlando, Florida

Elmira’s Cami Voorhees won with “Knives Out” one of the most prestigious dance competitions in the United States.

No, the 13-year-old hasn’t taken an unusually aggressive approach in a competition focused on grace, creativity and athleticism. “Knives Out” was the name of her solo routine at the Dance Awards, which took place July 7-14 in Orlando, Florida. This performance contributed to Voorhees being named the best dancer in the junior division (11-13 years old), repeat an honor she won in the mini division in 2018.

The Dance Awards, with annual competitions in Orlando and Las Vegas, have been equated with the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Hundreds of girls vied for top honors in the Voorhees division. The faculty of event organizer Break The Floor productions, one of the world’s top dance and entertainment companies, helped select the winners.

Cami Voorhees, 13, of Elmira was named top dancer in the junior division at the Dance Awards on July 14, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

With $ 500 coming with the highest honors in the junior division, this is the opportunity to tour with some of the best choreographers in the industry and attend the best conventions.

“People say it’s like dancing the Olympics,” Voorhees said. “I think as a young dancer obviously when you’re older and you graduate there are a lot more opportunities. But at my age it’s the best thing you can gain in the world of dance. “

In addition to the junior women’s crown, Voorhees won the best solo and teamed up with Elyse Wingertsahn for the selection of the best duo in their age category. They train with Evolve Dance Complex in the Pittsburgh area.

A police escort greeted Voorhees on her triumphant return from Orlando after family members waited for her at the airport to greet her with flowers. Friends and other family members continued the celebration at her home.

Cami Voorhees, 13, of Elmira received a police escort in Elmira after being named the best dancer in the junior division at the Dance Awards in Orlando, Fla. On July 14, 2021.

Intense and dramatic solo rewards

Choreographers from all over the world, whose work can be seen in shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars”, contribute to the performances of the Dance Awards.

Two-time Emmy Award-winning Travis Wall who worked with Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez, performed Voorhees’ “Knives Out” routine. For her nearly three-minute solo, Voorhees had a mysterious look that included a white outfit, outlined eyes, and a red glove on her right hand.

“It was a very intense dance for sure,” she said.

The chance to see friends and hang out with people who also love dancing added to what she described as an “amazing” experience in Orlando. There is a level of competitive stress involved in these types of events, but there is also a sense of calm that comes with it.

Cami Voorhees, 13, of Elmira performs at the Dance Awards July 2021 in Orlando, Florida.  Voorhees was named the best dancer in the junior division.

“I don’t really think about what I’m going to do on stage,” Voorhees said. “I think about the fact that it’s only a three minute dance and I’m going through it. It’s three minutes of my life and I’m going to enjoy it more than anything else. I think my love for dancing overcomes the stress itself. I just think about enjoying it and having fun more than the stress aspect. “

The competition includes an audition, solo and improvisation which all count in choosing the best dancer.

The top three dancers were announced three days before the final announcement, setting the stage for plenty of drama. The first 10 enter the scene and the first three advance. The second and first finalists are announced, leaving the winner. Gracyn French, a friend of Voorhees from California, placed second.

“I thought I did really well when I got off the stage, but I was really shocked when I won because my friend got second,” said Voorhees. “She was so amazing and I had no idea how it was going to turn out because she is one of the best dancers I have ever seen. We were definitely each other’s biggest competition. . I had no idea who was going to win. “

Elmira's Cami Voorhees was named the Junior Division's Best Dancer at the Dance Awards in Orlando, Florida in July 2021. Also pictured, left to right, teaching assistants Madi Mac and Lauren Herb, and teacher by Cami, Chelsea Sebes.

Expression through dance

Voorhees, who has been dancing since the age of 2, dances every day.

Because her studio is a five hour drive away, most of the lessons under Chelsea Sebes’ direction are done via Zoom in a dance hall at Voorhees. She has an older sister, Bella, 17, and two younger siblings, her 2-year-old brother Jagger and 1-year-old sister Marlee. Cami’s parents are Brent Voorhees and Curesity Voorhees.

She will soon be starting eighth grade at Ernie Davis Academy in Elmira, where she is an honorary student, and has nearly 66,000 subscribers on her. Instagram account.

“I’m on Instagram everyday. I love Instagram,” Voorhees said.

But dance remains his great interest. Voorhees mentioned a career as a choreographer, is not yet sure if she will try to be successful on Broadway, and raised the possibility of someday moving to Los Angeles to become an auxiliary dancer and appear in commercials and / or movies.

After Voorhees’ victory in Orlando, Sebes wrote about him on Instagram: “You are one of the most beautiful human beings in the world. Your love for dancing shows every time you step on this stage.”

The appeal of dance to Voorhees goes far beyond a future career or even being recognized as the best in the country in his age group.

“If I’m angry or happy or whatever, I can express how I feel when I’m dancing,” she said. “That’s why I love dancing so much. It brings me so much happiness. I never get tired of it. There are so many different styles and different ways of dancing.”

Follow Andrew Legare on Twitter: @SGAndrewLegare. You can also reach him at alegare@gannett.com. For unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.