GREENVILLE—Cari Plessinger started dancing when she was five years old.
“My mom put me in dance class because I was shy,” she said. “Almost everyone I used to dance with when I was younger, we all have some kind of studio, or still dance. Some dance in Europe, and still own studios. We all do something with dance, and we’re all in our 50’s.”
Now, director and co-owner of 5678 Dance Studio, she’s amassed forty years of dance experience.
Plessinger said in addition to making lifelong friends, dance is a great tool for teaching her students discipline.
“When you’re not on time or you’re not wearing the right outfit,” she said. “You got to be in your uniform at all times. The friendships and the bonds that they build, these girls, they have birthday parties together, I go to all their birthday parties, some of them have known me since they’ve two or three years old.”
The studio, located in Greenville, accepts dancers aged two and a half, to adult for their recreation classes. Dancers have the option of choosing from recreational or competition classes in the genres of tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, creative movement and tumbling. The studio cheer and competition program accepts dancers from kindergarten to high school.
Recently, the cheer and competition team won big at the National Rainbow Dance Competition in Tennessee.
“Out of the three competitions, we usually will pick one where we’d like to go nationals to,” she said. “This year we decided that we were going to the Rainbow Competition in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Out of those competitions we did this year, we received two double platinums, 33 platinums, 19 top ten awards.”
While the competition season officially starts in the fall, Plessinger said that the team is dancing constantly.
“The girls that I have right now, we don’t stop,” Plessinger said. “They have been working all summer long. The normal season for any dance season is we start in September, and we usually go to three regional competitions in March, April and May.”
The awards earned at competitions are based on a point system. In addition to the over 50 national awards they earned during the season, the team earned 20 overall awards in Tennessee, two of their dancers were dancer of the year finalists and the studio won the national studio of the year award.
At the competition, the team competes against other studios from mostly large metropolitan areas like L.A. and Atlanta.
“We’re small,” Plessinger said. “We bring 10 numbers, they bring 50. They bring buses of people, they had a production that probably had 80 people in it. So all those girls came from one studio. They’re coming from all over.”
Next up, the Darke County Elite Cheer Team will start off the 2022-23 competition season by competing at both the Miami and Darke County Fairs.