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North Dakota hip hop dancer wins national title

Eleven-year-old Carter Dolyniuk dances to a hip-hop beat, jumps and leaps on stage and changes his costume multiple times when he performs a solo dance called "The Garage Sale."...

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Carter Dolyniuk stands by his 6-foot-tall trophy and holds up a sweatshirt that he won after being named Junior Mr. Starpower. (Submitted Photo )

Eleven-year-old Carter Dolyniuk dances to a hip-hop beat, jumps and leaps on stage and changes his costume multiple times when he performs a solo dance called “The Garage Sale.”

Carter took the choreographed routine to the Starpower National Talent Competition the week of July 11 at Las Vegas, where he advanced to win the title of Junior Mr. Starpower.

“His dance was creative. It was unique. I think it was the total package that impressed the judges,” said Carter’s dance instructor, Nikki St. John, owner-artistic director of Burn the Floor Diversity in Dance in Dickinson. “He was a like a breath of fresh air. The judges sit 10 hours a day through more than 500 routines, and literally his dance was a routine they had not seen there before.”

Carter won five stars - the highest in the preliminary competition against 80 junior dancers. He was a first-year soloist, but competed at the highest level, based of his prior hip-hop dance experiences with the studio.

He was invited by the judges to remain in the competition to compete for the junior title. When the scores were compiled, he won the costume award and the Junior Male title. A similar award was given to a Junior Female dancer.

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Carter is the son of Brenda and Doug Dolyniuk and he has two sisters - Sydney, 14, and Brooke, 8. He will enroll as a sixth-grader at Berg Elementary School in the fall.

Carter has been around dance studios for as long as he can remember - waiting for his sister, Sydney to finish her lessons.

“He hated waiting for her - he was hip hopping around the room,” Brenda recalled.

Carter started his own lessons at age 6 - always in hip hop.

“I like how much fun it is,” Carter said. “It’s challenging and it helps me with other sports. I also do football and baseball, and dance helps me with balance, teamwork and endurance.”

Carter qualified to dance on Burn the Floor’s LEAD competition team, and was given a solo for the first time during the last competition season. The team competed in seven regionals, one of which was where he qualified to attend a national meet.

Celebration Talent competition awarded Carter with a partial scholarship to the Hollywood Summer Tour Program in California, but the cost was still expensive. That’s when his parents and dance instructor enrolled him in the Starpower nationals.

Carter worked on his solo more than a month until he felt he was ready. A table was filled with props for the various segments of the dance - all within 3 minutes. He danced to the music of New Kids on the Block, used a Michael Jackson glove and hat, and a Jabbawockeez’ white mask. He ended with his interpretation of modern hip hop.

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“The judges said they liked his stage presence, his energy,” Brenda said. “They enjoyed his concept of dance because it was different. They liked his personality and he is a good dancer.”

“My mom said you have to smile on stage, and a lot of dancers smiled, but they had to smile,” Carter said. “I smiled because I really was enjoying the dance.”

Learning of his success, Brenda added, “We were over the moon - we couldn’t believe it. We were so excited to get five stars at the Vegas competition because it’s so difficult. There were dancers from New Zealand and a majority were from California. He competed with two little girls who were on TV’s ‘Dance Moms.’”

“I was nine points away from a perfect score,” Carter added.

Carter had a different perspective of the competition after seeing a majority of the dances were lyrical and ballet.

“I was expecting to see tons of good hip hop, and I was disappointed,” he said.

Carter describes dance as an art - similar to martial arts. Attending dance lessons, Carter said he often goes home in pain.

“It’s terrible,” he said. “Sometimes I’m sore for the next four days. Nikki works us hard, but gives us good opportunities like this.”

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Carter plans to start football practice this fall, and may postpone dance lessons a month.

He has been described as a role model for other young dancers.

“He is the epitome of values we want in children,” St. John said. “He’s humble and kind.”

Brenda added, “He’s humble and a hard worker.”

Carter has a word of advice for anyone thinking of trying out dance.

“Don’t be afraid to try because if you like it, you get to do very big things,”he said.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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