Many people dream of going to Hollywood, but one local 9-year-old is staying put, despite being invited there for a competition that could help land her in the spotlight.
Grayson Bearden, of Soddy-Daisy, already dazzled judges and made the A-list as a top dancer among ages 6-12 in a recent iHollywood Dance event in Atlanta. In return, she received a scholarship to pay for half of her tuition to another iHollywood Dance event and an invitation to compete in Hollywood.
"We were not expecting anyone to make the A-list since this was their first workshop," said her instructor, Alicia's School of Dance owner Alicia Hatcher, adding that Alicia's dancers train for five to six hours weekly year-round. "For Grayson to make the A-list it was awesome."
Grayson entered the event with fellow Alicia's All-Star Dance Team members, but the second day her friends went home.
"She's a great dancer," said her grandmother, Nancy Keys. "Grayson is not afraid to get up in front of people. She has the drama through her facial expressions to go with hip hop."
However, she has opted not to go to Hollywood, because she wants to be in the Alicia's School of Dance recital that occurs at the same time in June.
Before the recent competition, Grayson learned from well-known iHollywood coaches various dance moves in ballet, hip hop, tap, contemporary and jazz. As a member of Alicia's All-Star Dance Team, she already knew a lot of jazz, hip hop, gymnastics and lyrical dance moves.
"I went with my All-Star team to iHollywood," said Grayson, a fourth-grader at Allen Elementary School. "It was our first dance workshop to go to. I was the only one from my team that made the A-list. I liked the hip hop teachers."
Her mother, Jennifer Bearden, said she was excited that Grayson landed one of the 10 A-list spots out of 75 dancers in her age division. She plans to take Grayson on their first trip to New York in May to attend dance workshops and to watch Broadway musicals "The Lion King" and "Stomp."
"She has always danced and been a free spirit," said Bearden. "She loves hip hop. She's always jumping on a trampoline, riding her bike, turning cartwheels or doing headstands."
Grayson's talent first became evident during an Allen Elementary talent competition when she danced to "Whip My Hair" by Willow Smith, said her mother. Her peers gave her a standing ovation.
Grayson also dances at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs halftime basketball games with Alicia's All-Star Team.
For the last three years she has been dancing at Alicia's School of Dance in Hixson, after starting out in gymnastics at Garner's Gymnastics four years ago. She aspires to join the cheerleading squad at Loftis Middle School and would like to attend Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences as a high school student to continue her dancing passion.