Dance duo wins on state fair's biggest stageWoodbury residents Alex Esch, 11 and Zach Manske, 12, are already national dance champions, but the young duo has now added another title to their dance reputation — talent show champions.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury residents Alex Esch, 11 and Zach Manske, 12, are already national dance champions, but the young duo has now added another title to their dance reputation — talent show champions.
Esch and Manske won first place at the Minnesota State Fair Talent Competition, Sept. 5, in the pre-teen division.
The duo performed a jazz routine, choreographed by Erin Hinck at Woodbury Dance Center, to Michael Jackson’s “ The Way You Make Me Feel”
Esch and Manske were the only dance routine, of the seven acts, in the pre-teen division.
“When they announced our names, we just started screaming,” Esch said. “I started thinking ‘Is this happening? Am I dreaming?’ — it was so surreal.”
Esch has been taking classes at the Woodbury Dance Center for seven years and Manske has been taking classes for the past four years.
“The thing I love about dance is the environment — everybody can just be free,” Esch, who is a fifth grader at Mounds Park Academy, said. “You don’t have to be like soldiers.”
Manske, who is s sixth grader at Lake Middle School, said he got into dance after watching his sister in classes.
“I’d just be watching in the window and be like ‘ I want to do that mom.’” He said.
Esch and Manske, who have been dancing together in competitions for the past two years, said they decided to audition for the state fair talent show after hearing stories of their teachers auditioning.
Esch said several of their teachers also suggested they try.
“We were real confident that we needed to do it this year, so we decided to just shoot for it” she said.
The routine that Esch and Manske used for the state fair talent show is a routine that they have danced already four or five times in different dance competitions, including the StarQuest National Dance competition, where they won first place.
During the talent show, Esch and Manske said they didn’t have many nerves since the routine is almost second nature to them now since they’ve danced it so many times.
“There was more excitement than nerves,” Esch said. “In the end, it was all about just having fun, not caring how we did, and just going out there and having the most fun we can have.”
For Manske, his favorite part about the talent competition was being able to perform on the Grand Stand.
“Just being on the Grand Stand and seeing all those people was so cool,” he said. “It was so cool to be able to dance in front of all of them.”
The majority of the acts that Esch and Manske competed against were musical acts, Esch said.
“Everybody was tough competition,” Esch said.
Since they won first place, Esch and Manske walked away with a trophy and $500 in prize money.
Esch said she is probably going to spend her cut on clothes, Manske said he wants to save up his money.
This may not be the end of the state fair talent competition for the duo; the two said they would like to consider auditioning for the two other competition divisions — teen and open.
Since Esch and Manske dance a variety of styles — jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet — they don’t know which style is in store for their next duet, but they said they definitely want to dance together.
“I love dancing all different styles of dance — it’s great to see the different personalities of dance,” Esch said.
Both Esch and Manske said they may consider becoming professional dancers, but for now they’re going to see where their interests lead.