Dance Studio 111 dancers of Ahwatukee wins the National Grand Championship in California. Carrie Mathues, the artistic director won national choreographer of the year.

Submitted photo

Dance Studio 111 performers proved themselves on a national level recently, taking home championships in three different categories at a recent competition.

At the Move Dance Competition in Palm Springs, Calif., dancers competed in a variety of events over the course of the five-day competition. Veterans of the Ahwatukee Foothills studio as well as newcomers said teamwork was why they fared so well against the best dancers in the country.

The 10-dancer Divaz Group placed first and were named Junior Large Group Grand National Champions for their jazz routine, No Can Do, and were also awarded second place in the lyrical competition and eighth in the contemporary competition.

“I feel like this was a lot of fun and we had a lot of teamwork and friendship,” said Sophia Betcher, 12, who competed for the first time at Move Dance. “Everybody really tries hard because they really love dance and they want to get better at it.”

The National Grand Champions for the duo and trio category was by a group called Dirty Orchestra. The three dancers, Kennedy Maling, Olivia Gregg and Danielle Marquez, took first place out of more than 100 other teams.

“It was our biggest tournament of the year so it was exciting to be able to do so well,” said Maling, 15, who is in her eighth year dancing under Kimberly Lewis, owner of Dance Studio 111. “Kimberly forms close bonds with people and provides us with good teachers who help us improve. She brings teachers from out of state so we can get better.”

Another group of dancers were named Grand National Champions for Junior Small Group for the routine, Courage. And Dance Studio 111 artistic director Carrie Matheus, who has worked with Lewis for the past 21 years, won the Grand National Choreographer of the Year.

Elsewhere, the HotShots and SuperStars achieved second place for their routine of Tainted Love.

The competition took place July 6-10 and featured groups from around the country.

To find out more about Dance Studio 111, located at 111 E. Chandler Blvd., call (480) 706-6040 or visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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