MORE2Dance hosts ’The Little Mermaid’ |

MORE2Dance hosts ’The Little Mermaid’

MORE2Dance offers more than just dance instruction during the pandemic

Ariel's sisters are being played by (back row) Avery Begg, Charlotte Johnson, Willow Uzdavinis and Dakota Kurt and (front row) Brooke Bodenhemier and Savanna Palmer.
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For the first time in 24 months, the MORE2Dance Studio will host a dance recital. Since February, 115 dancers ages 4 to 18 have been working hard to bring life to “The Little Mermaid.”

On Sunday, watch as Ariel tries to escape her life as a mermaid and be with Prince Eric while Ursula, her sisters and father, King Triton try to stop her. The dancing will be enhanced with all the songs you know and love from “The Little Mermaid,” like “Under the Sea,” and “Kiss the Girl.”

The dance recital is not only a spring ritual for the dance studio after months of hard work, it is also a celebration of hope and community that the MORE2Dance Studio has provided the students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Walking alongside our dancers as they endured such a difficult year has been the motivator for pushing through this pandemic,” said MORE2Dance Studio owner Samantha Tino.

“We have been the bright light in their day by staying open and trying to make life in our studio as “normal” as possible for our dancers.”

The MORE2Dance Studio opened back up to students in May 2020 to give its seasoned dancers some normalcy after the lockdown.

“In the fall, the transition for our older dancers back to school was tough on them, so being able to give them a place to release their grief, anxiety, sadness and bring joy back to their lives through dance has been amazing,” Tino said.

Azul Meza, a senior at Battle Mountain High School, plays the lead role of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” The MORE2Dance Studio’s recital will be held at Vail Christian High School at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
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In addition to dance instruction, MORE2Dance teamed up with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health counselors and the HOPE Center to help its middle school and high school dancers with the emotional sadness and stress that COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

“Many of our older dancers had a hard time adjusting to the two-day-a-week schedule with school so dance has become a community and a social outlet for them,” Tino said.

Parents were grateful for the efforts MORE2Dance put forth as well.

Mackenzie Messmer is a seventh grader and will play the part of Prince Eric’s butler, Grimsby. Messmer’s parents, Rick and Kim Messmer, noticed a change in Mackenzie over the past nine months.

“Her energy has been recharged doing what she loves most. It is her favorite place to be and she spends each night growing in her passion,” Kim Messmer said.

“We are grateful to have the amazing MORE2Dance Studio in our lives. Samantha has been able to take a studio during a pandemic and turn the lights back on, and not only on the wall, but also in the hearts and minds of these dancers,” Kim Messmer said.

The performance will be action-packed with plenty of costume changes and is sure to entertain the whole family. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted this week, more people will be able to view “The Little Mermaid” performance in person at Vail Christian High School in Edwards.

“We found out our recital went from 150 people in person to 350 people in person. We are thrilled beyond belief and the dancers are overjoyed that they will be able to perform without masks in front of 350 people. It is a dream come true for me and our dancers!” Tino said.

Dani Haims (center) plays the role of Ursula with Lily Wagenknecht (left) and Audrey Anzalone (right) playing her eel sidekicks, Flotsam and Jetsam in MORE2Dance Studio’s spring recital, “The Little Mermaid.”
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Choreographer Karley Kintner has been impressed with the dancers’ hard work and positive attitudes and she is excited they get to share that with even more people watching live and in person.

“Every class they show up ready to learn and are always so excited to try new things. Performing is one of my favorite aspects of dance and I’m so excited for the girls to experience the joy of being on stage. I’m so proud of their determination and I know this show will be great,” Kintner said.

The dance recital is at 2:30 p.m. at Vail Christian High School in Edwards. Tickets are available at There will still be a watch party on its Facebook page @m2ddance for those who cannot attend the recital in person.

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