Oak Park youth dance team wins #MIKidsCanDance Contest

IMG_3072_optBlue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Pistons selected the We Are STARZ dance team of Oak Park-based STAR II Center for Dance as the inaugural #MIKidsCanDance Contest winners.
Eight dancers from the studio, ages 9 to 15, performed alongside the Pistons’ hip-hop dance team, the Mob Squad, in a Missy Elliott tribute during halftime on Tuesday, March 24, when the team hosted the Toronto Raptors.
Prior to the game, dancers from STAR II Center for Dance trained with the Mob Squad and their choreographer, Oscar Hernandez, to perfect their performance. In June, the team will also be invited to participate in a one-day dance event known as “the Drop” to gain additional dance instruction and knowledge from a select group of top industry choreographers.
The Westwood High School dance team from Ishpeming was named first runner-up, also earning the opportunity to participate in “the Drop.” Grand Blanc-based L&L Dance Studio placed second runner-up. All three teams were awarded tickets to attend the game at the Palace.
“We are so thrilled for all these kids, from all across Michigan whose talent and creativity shined brightly during our contest,” said Andy Hetzel, vice president, Corporate Communications, for Blue Cross. “All the dancers who participated in the #MIKidsCanDance Contest demonstrate how dance can be a fun and enjoyable way to stay active and healthy.”
In January, Blue Cross and the Pistons launched the #MIKidsCanDance Contest, an Instagram challenge that invited youth dance teams across Michigan to showcase their best moves for a chance to perform at the Palace of Auburn Hills with the Mob Squad.
More than 40 entries were submitted to the contest. All entries were displayed on AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan from Feb. 16 to Feb. 27 for a two-week, public voting period. The five video submissions with the most votes became semifinalists, and advanced to the judging round.
A panel from Blue Cross and the Pistons evaluated the semifinalists on choreography, concept, musicality, execution, showmanship and performance and selected the top three entries as winners.
“We extend our congratulations to all those who entered the #MIKidsCanDance Contest,” said Ken Jimenez, director of Game Entertainment for the Detroit Pistons. “We saw an excellent display of talent demonstrated by the dancers who entered the contest and enjoyed working with We Are STARZ to showcase a great performance for Pistons fans.”
#MIKidsCanDance supports Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign, an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are likely to be carried into adulthood. Childhood obesity is an epidemic, impacting a third of Michigan’s children.
Over the last 10 years, Blue Cross has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children.
For more information on the #MIKidsCanDance Contest and Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit https://www.AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter.

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