Some little girls just love to dance.
At Hollingsworth School of Dance in Fort Dodge, five girls from ages 5 to 8 will take their art to a new level when they attend the Symposium National Dance Competition in Burnsville, Minn., June 29-July 1.
This is the youngest competition class in Fort Dodge, said Lindsey Ganzeveld, mother of two little dancers.
"Other kids attend regular dance classes every week, learn the dance techniques, have fun with their friends, and show off their talent at end of year at recitals to their family and friends. But competition girls work really hard, do extra practices, then take their techniques, songs and dances and compete against other dance companies," Ganzeveld said.
Though they're young, they're not new to the dance floor, Ganzeveld said. All the girls in this class started lessons when they were 2 to 3 years old.
"Hollingsworth 'Mommy and Me' classes start at 2 years old," she said. "One of my daughters started at 22 months old."
Dance instructor Sandra Hollingsworth said she's had a competition class for little ones for two years now.
"I've had them in regular classes," Hollingsworth said. "Parents asked me if it would be possible to work them into a competitive class. That's what we've been doing for a couple years. I wasn't too sure how that would work out, but it's worked out well."
And the girls are very talented, she said. They took first place silver in tap and first place gold in a competition in Ames, took two first-place gold finishes at a Fort Dodge symposium, and finished with first place platinum at the ShowStoppers competition in Omaha.
"That one was cool because it was out-of-state," said Ganzeveld.
The girls have also performed at numerous local venues, including Frontier Days and dancing for Santa Claus at the Crossroads Mall.
"They're still little peanuts," Hollingsworth said. "They're still learning a lot. Right now they're at that cute age in that 5- and 6-year-old category."
She said teaching this class requires patience.
"Sometimes they'd rather do something different, like run. Or maybe stand in middle of floor and just turn around, and not pay attention. They're just little kids and you have to understand that."
Ganzeveld said the classes are good for the girls - it teaches social skills and boosts self-esteem.
Hollingsworth said she is very familiar with the Minnesota competition, and it is a good match for these girls.
"This is why we go there. I know it's a fun time for these kids. They have little parties for the little kids and other fun things," Hollingsworth said. "I would not take them to every national competition. ... I don't like throwing young children to the wolves.
"I think they're excited. They're not nervous. I'm nervous.
"I think they'll do quite well. However, if they don't I'm not concerned about that."
The focus has always been on having fun, she said, not on winning medals.
"If they like it, that's what's important," Hollingsworth said. "I don't care if they win. That's not my big thing."