It was a major award.
So big, that when dance teacher Lindsey Sturzinger heard the perks, she told her girls, "If anyone wins this, I'll pack your bags!"
Mikayla Neer can take Sturzinger up on that offer after winning the Protg Scholarship at the PULSE dance convention in Chicago.
The Moving Company School of Dance tries to take its dancers to at least three dance conventions a year, Sturzinger said. She took 22 of her young girls to Chicago on Nov. 15-16 for the PULSE dance convention. There, they were able to learn from the choreographers of "So You Think You Can Dance?," "Dancing with the Stars," and "America's Next Top Dance Crew."
On the second day of the convention all of the dancers competed for scholarships, including the top honor of the Protg Scholarship.
Mikayla, a 13-year-old from Milan, won that scholarship, which allows her to attend any PULSE dance convention for the next year and work alongside the choreographers.
"It was amazing" Mikayla said.
She has already participated in one additional conference in Nashville, Tenn., and plans to attend two more in early 2009.
PULSE instructors include Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Cris Judd, Dave Scott, Shane Sparks, Wade Robson, Brian Friedman and Laurieann Gibson.
Mikayla will be able to train with these professionals, and at the end of the day spend time with these celebrities of the dance world. Sturzinger said that part of the experience alone is priceless.
Mikayla said she enjoys the opportunity to dance and make new friends who understand the difficulties, commitments and love of dance.
"I started at 3 and fell in love. It's my passion," she said.
Mikayla will go to New York City in June to compete for the Lead Protg Scholarship, which would allow her to continue to travel with the convention for an additional year.