- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - After all of the chaos and excitement, the North Dakota members of Team USA came home with medals and other awards from the World Championships of the Performing Arts.

On July 10-19, the North Dakota residents who are a part of Team USA, competed in the World Championships of Performing Arts in Long Beach, California, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1SOQAFx ) reported.

“The first day we met the nations and had orientation. We got to see all of the cultures in our competition,” said Rhonda Bartlette, Team USA talent scout. “Being able to walk with Team USA makes you feel proud to be a part of it.”

The North Dakota members of Team USA included Kiara Bartlette, Morgan Benth, Brooke Wetzstein, Leah Seidel, Mindy Mann, Jeri Martinez, Hannah Peery, Spencer Zarr, Toby Holm, and Lucas Dunlap - all of them from the Williston area.

Anxiously waiting for the competitions to begin, the members of Team USA were able to participate in boot camps where they were taught by top professionals in performing arts industry. ‘Go sees,’ a letter of reference of sorts, given to those who stood out to producers or casting agents in the area they were competing in, were issued to many of the members of Team USA. The reason for the ‘go see’ is for the producers and casting agents of very prestigious groups to get a closer look at the contestant as a way to recruit new talent.

The competitions were held on Monday and Tuesday. Bartlette jokingly mentioned she had to split in two to both compete and support her teammates.

“All of Team USA did incredibly well and brought home numerous medals and awards,” said Team USA member Lucas Dunlap. “More exciting though is how well the North Dakota members of Team USA did. There were numerous gold medal winners in categories including vocal, modeling, dance and acting.”

Five North Dakotans made it to the semifinals - Dunlap, Bartlette, Benth, Wetzstein, and Seidel.

Saturday was the day medals and scholarships were given out to winners.

This included a year-long scholarship with Millennium Dance Complex, which was given to Brooke Wetzstein for overall category winner. Spencer Zarr received a $10,000 scholarship from the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts. Leah Seidel was awarded gold in overall category winner in the world in the open category, and the industry award. Lucas Dunlap received an overall category winner, and Brooke Wetzstein received an overall category winner award.

Overall, Team USA finished the competition and brought home six gold medals, five silver medals, six bronze medals, three overall division winners, an industry professionals award, a one-year scholarship to Millennium Dance Academy, a $10,000 scholarship to the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, and many ‘go see’ follow-ups with producers and casting agents.

“I really liked it, it was a great experience,” said Leah Seidel, Team USA member. “Throughout the whole competition Rhonda gave me a lot of advice and was very supportive and held the team together very well. I don’t think the team would have done as well without her. I would love to see the whole team back together next year”


Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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