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Spirit Dance Brings the Art of Dance to Rural SE Colorado

By Betsy Barnett

December 21, 2022

Spirit Dance, a dance studio located in Lamar, has been around for 10 years as they are currently celebrating their 10th anniversary, and currently growing at a tremendous rate thanks to the addition of competitive dance opportunities for the dozens of dancers who patronize the business.

Rosalind Smith is the Director and Studio Owner of Spirit Dance, and she also teaches all the classes to the various age groups and abilities, choreographs the competition numbers, and designs the costuming and artistic direction for the dance productions.

Smith has always had dance running through her veins. She tells the story, “I was born in Springfield, Colorado and like many young girls, I had a dream. I dreamt of being a dancer. Unfortunately, at the time, there were no dance lessons available in Baca County, so I did my best to learn from dancers on the TV and my imagination.”

Smith continues, “After I moved to a large city, I was able to begin my formal dance education. I studied ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater and clogging over the course of many years and was thrilled to perform in such events as the Super Bowl and the Olympic Festival. Dance also served me well as a talent when I competed successfully in the Miss America Scholarship program.”

“Life brought me back to Southeast Colorado and I never forgot that little, country girl with the big dream. It was an honor for me to begin Spirit Dance and be able to offer my love of dance to the area’s youth.”

Prior to opening the Spirit Dance studio, Smith was teaching a little bit of dance in the Walsh Elementary School gym. These lessons were so successful that the program continued to grow each year motivating her to open up a studio in Lamar and get serious about teaching various forms of dance to the young people of southeastern Colorado.

Currently, Smith teaches 14 classes per week of varying ages and abilities, and also holds private lessons for competition dancers. There are 63 students enrolled in the program at this time—that includes girls and boys.

The dance studio began to flourish 5 years ago when Smith decided to bring in competition dance. “We entered the competition world 5 years ago with three dancers and fell in love with it. Our competition team, Spirit Elite, now has 13 dancers and competes at 3 to 4 competitions per year. The highlight of our competition journey was in 2021 when two of our numbers received Golden Tickets to compete at the World Dance Championship in Secaucus, New Jersey. It was an amazing experience! One of our numbers received a Golden Ticket last year, as well, but we were unable to attend. We are hoping to make it back this year, though.”

Smith continues to move the dance studio forward as just this year she started a new performance group called the Rising Stars.

“This year, I also began a new performance group called the Rising Stars. This is a group of talented and hard-working dancers who have put together an entertaining number that is available for community performances and compete at the Dancers of the Midwest competitions.”

The Rising Stars group recently competed in the Dancers of the Midwest competition in Holcomb, Kansas. The two Rising Stars group, a new concept, performed “Change the World” and “Think.” Both productions earned a Silver Ranking. These are older dancers who are pushing the envelope, something brand new for them.

The younger dancers, the Spirit Elite team, had a tremendous showing at the competition in Holcomb. They had 10 Gold rankings and 8 Platinum rankings.

Platinum performers and Top Ten placers included: Jaxi Downing, who was 1st in her age division and placed overall third in the Top Ten performing, “Trouble.” Kimber Chenoweth, 2nd in her age division and 3rd in the Top Ten performing, “I See Red;” Scarlett Suarez, 4th place in the Top Ten performed “Shake your Tailfeather;” Jaxi Downing & Reagan Phares placed 1st in their age division and 5th place in the Top Ten for “Girls Rock;” Scarlett Suarez placed 8th in the top Ten for “Proud Mary;” and Miliscentt Suarez placed 9th in the Top Ten performing “It’s OK.”

Two Eads dancers, brand new to the Spirit Elite team, included sisters Piper Uhland and Saylor Uhland. The two performed two dances ranking Gold in each including “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “The Dreams.” Downing and Phares joined the Uhland sisters in those two dance performances.

Smith described the Hugoton competition, “The Dancers of the Midwest competition is an entry-level competition that was started by Dani Heinrich to give rural dancers a fun opportunity to connect and compete with one another. They hold two competitions every year including one December, which was just attended, and with the next one on January 28th.”

After that, Spirit Elite hits the road to compete at 3 higher level competitions. This year, we will be attending the following events:

Talent on Parade in Amarillo (Weekend of Feb 3rd)

Nexstar in Amarillo (Weekend of March 10th)

Believe in Pueblo (Weekend April 14th)

Competition is only a portion of what Smith teaches, however. The majority of her dancers are at a recreation level, and she offers classes for ages 3 and up to boys and girls. Smith offers instruction in AcroDance, ballet, tap and jazz.

For more information on Spirit Dance check out their website where you can learn much more about their programs and Smith’s background at If you have any other questions, please contact Rosalind Smith at 719 353 2224.

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