- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Competition is what drives people to bring out the best in themselves. The World Championship of Performing Arts is an international competition with over 60 countries competing to be the best of the best.

In Long Beach, California, from July 10-19, performers from all around the world will come together in the 19th World Championships of Performing Arts. It is the biggest competition of the performing arts. Among them, Team USA will have 11 contestants are from Williston, North Dakota.

“We have a variety of talents, I am so proud to take them with me. The World Championship of Performing Arts (is) the Olympics for the performing arts,” said Rhonda Bartlette, talent scout for Team USA.

The WCOPA is a chance for young performing artists to show off their talents to agents, producers, directors, and others from the entertainment industry, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1S52qHB ) reported. It is a chance for the contestants to get their name noticed and have the chance to make it big. Over 60 countries will be competing for Gold in categories such as dance, vocal, modeling, acting, comedy, bands, instrumental and variety.

“I am pretty excited to be competing this year. We have put a lot of effort into fundraisers, music, recording time, etc. It is a lot of work and yes, kind of costly, but it’s not just some rinky dink talent show. It is the World Championship of Performing Arts. It is an amazing opportunity to not only showcase your talents in front of hundreds of people from over 40 different countries, but also in front of some of the world’s biggest producers and talent scouts,” said Lucas Dunlap of Team USA. “We are only a small part of Team USA, but we are bringing some pretty incredible talent. I’m excited to listen, watch, learn and, of course, perform.”

Rhonda, along with her sister Barb Lind, has a musical strength that keeps drawing recognition. The sisters performed together in the We Fest karaoke competition and made it to the finals three times and won state finals once.

“Tammy Wolthe was one of the judges at We Fest. About a year ago she contacted me, asking me and Barb to be on Team USA. We made it through the first round of auditions and received a go see letter to meet with a pop producer,” Bartlette said. “When we were at the competition, Kyle Haggerty, who is the WCOPA national director, asked me if I was interested in being a talent scout.”

From the day the contestants get to the WCOPA, they have orientation and registration. Immediately the next day the contestants are thrown into WorldStars Boot Camp, which is a set of workshops in every category to help prepare the contestants. There also are auditions for shows such as America’s Got Talent. Agents, producers, directors, and others from the entertainment industry are invited to judge and screen new faces and talent.

After the orientation, there will be an opening ceremony, which will feature the parade of nations, where all of the different countries are recognized and welcomed.

“Our contestants are very diverse, we are united and have strong talent” said Bartlette.

In the finals, the contestants won’t only win Gold, Silver, or Bronze; scholarships will also be handed out, such as $30,000 in scholarships to the Millennium Dance Complex, $200,000 from the renowned New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts School for Film and Television, and $15,000 from the New York Film Academy.

“It is a very long competition … nine days to be exact, so it will be tiring but well worth the expense and effort,” Dunlap said. “Of course, being crowned the ‘grand champion of the world’ might not be so bad either.”

Barlette, along with her contestants she recruited, has big plans and strong talent to bring to the WCOPA.

“I am a new talent scout; I want to give the same opportunity to someone else to full fill their dreams of making it big. I still feel like I am still living the dream,” Bartlette said.

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

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