Wheeler took home a first-place trophy for her performance last week at Dance America’s Dancer of the Year national competition in Florida. Caption Seven-year-old Ashlyn Punke performs her solo Wednesday afternoon at Donna Mueller’s School of Dance. By HEIDI LITCHFIELD hlitchfield @shawmedia.com MORRIS Disney World might be called the happiest place on Earth, but for a group of local dancers it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get there. Six students at Donna Muellers School of Dance earned their way to compete at Dance Americas Dancer of the Year competition held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, last week by earning enough points in the regional competitions to land them a spot at nationals. Ashlyn Punke, 7, of Morris and Ella Wheeler, 9, of Minooka competed in the petite division, against other girls between the ages of 7 and 11, and they both claimed a first-place trophy. Punke with her jazz solo, Party, and Wheeler with her hip-hop solo, Hey Hey Hey. I wasnt scared, Ashlyn said. My mom told me to just have fun. She said she was excited to hear her name when she won but the trophy wasnt the greatest part of her trip making new friends link from other studios around North America was. Ella agreed hanging out with her friends is the bright side to dance, but her favorite is learning new things and seeing new places.
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