The line of people cheering and high-fiving the dancers as the prepared to take the field during halftime of the Orange Bowl could have led you to believe the audience was here just for that moment. It was the biggest stage any of the eight Charlotte dancers had ever taken and they were absolutely ready.

“Sure we were nervous, but we knew what we were supposed to do,” said local dancer Catherine Diebold, who was one of eight dancers from The Dance Studio in Charlotte to be invited to perform during halftime of the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. “We knew the choreography so when the music started, all of our nerves went away and we were able to just dance our hearts out and concentrate on the crowd who was cheering us on. I felt like a rock-star with all those people screaming for us.”

Diebold was joined by local dancers Jarrad Epkey, Cassidy Inks, Madison Johnston, Alyssa Tisdale, Nick Usher, Samantha Usher, and Isabelle Whiting. The eight arrived in Miami on New Year’s Eve and spent the days leading up to their performance learning from some of the dance industries top young talent. They teamed with 480 kids from 22 states for the halftime performance.

“It was phenomenally, wonderfully awesome,” said Vickie Diebold, owner of The Dance Studio. “The kids did such a great job and were so proud of themselves. The kids had worked so hard and when I saw those kids take field, there was no doubt in my mind it was all worth it.”

The Dance Studio in Charlotte was one of two dance studios in Michigan selected to perform at halftime of the 2014 Orange Bowl.

“When I got done and went back to sit down I was smiling from ear to ear,” Whiting said. “It was great to meet and work with famous choreographers and dancers from all over the country and then show our parents what we had learned with the choreographers cheering us on.”

The team learned the performance choreography from Mandy Moore and were introduced to several choreographers and dancers from the hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance.

“I loved learning the dance and coming together with so many people from around America to perform it,” Tisdale said. “This was by far the coolest thing I have ever done. Learning dances from the celebrities was a very good learning experience and it was cool to see how their styles were so different. They taught us so much and were very inspirational.”

Vickie said watching her dancers come together with dancers from across the United States was an awesome experience. Overall, she said she could not believe how supportive the entire environment was for all of the performers.

“It felt like we were with family,” she said.

“It was amazing,” Epkey said. “I would definitely do it again.”Dancers1