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PULLMAN (Murrow News 8) – Washington State University held its first dance competition Friday, October 4. We wanted to give students who are passionate about dance an opportunity to show what they can do, assistant director of university recreation, Jessica Whitt said.

“It started as a selfish thing – I just wanted to have a dance competition,” said Whitt, “It’s just kind of blossomed into this really amazing project.”

UREC worked with the Gender Identity, Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, GIESORC, and Multicultural Student Services to make the event happen. Whitt says their help made things a lot easier.

Contemporary ballet, hip-hop and Bollywood dancers took to the stage. “This is exactly what we wanted to do,” Whitt said.

The winner of the dance competition received a 500-dollar check and will have opportunities to perform at future school events.

A halftime performance at the Student Entertainment Board’s Springfest is on the table. Last year, T-Pain was the main act. We want to give the winner as much exposure and experience on stage as possible, Whitt said.

Vogue artist Cesar Valentino, AfroBeats dancer Nkeiruka “NK” and contemporary ballet dancer Jessica Sanchez were the judges. After some deliberation they decided on the winner.

Marley Samio didn’t expect she’d walk away with first place. All she wanted to do was give us a taste of her culture and have fun doing so. Samio displayed a Tahitian style of dance.

Samio got a laugh on stage when she said she’d be putting her winnings toward tuition. I asked if that was true. “Some of it, yes,” she said, “We have a Spokane trip coming up so I have to prepare my Hawaiian skin for the cold weather.”

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