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After three exhilarating days of dance classes, auditions, performances and making new friends from around the world, participants in the 2016 National High School Dance Festival gathered Sunday morning for the closing awards ceremony, where more than 300 students received scholarships to help them pursue their dreams of a career in dance.

"Thank you to the teachers, students, college representatives and the many departments at Point Park University who worked tirelessly to make this festival a success," said Garfield Lemonius, Point Park associate professor of dance, to open the awards ceremony at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

During the ceremony, schools and dance programs from across the U.S. and abroad - including Point Park - awarded more than 300 scholarships to high school dancers who had auditioned for dance programs and summer intensives on the festival's first day.

"This has been a wonderful festival and the facilities at Point Park and in Pittsburgh are beautiful," said Kathryn Kearns, Ed.D., executive director and festival co-coordinator. "We thank you so much for coming and wish you safe travels."

What Participants are Saying About NHSDF at Point Park

  • "At NHSDF, I really enjoyed taking classes in martial arts for dance, Pilates and a lecture on how to prepare for the cost of college. This is my first time in Pittsburgh and it's been a great experience. It's much colder here and the snow is pretty cool." - Kenny Lin, a senior at Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan
  • "My classmates and I have never been to Pittsburgh. We think it's a really nice town and a lovely place to stay. We don't get snow in Australia and we loved seeing snow for the first time; we even tried to eat it. We've had so much fun attending the classes and meeting new friends." - Natalie Froti, a senior at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Newtown, Australia
  • "I'm really passionate about dance; it's my breath of fresh air. This weekend was such a cool opportunity to be around so many people who share the same passion of dance." - Charity Carey, a junior at Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich.
  • "It was such an exciting weekend. There were so many opportunities to take classes and experience different styles of dance. I really enjoyed the gala performances on Friday and Saturday evenings. Everyone in Pittsburgh has been so friendly and welcoming." - Christina Jadra, a senior at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore, Md.
  • "NHSDF is a fantastic opportunity to see so much young talent. It was so lovely to be a part of the auditions on Thursday and meet with the students to offer them advice." - Jacqueline Jones, a senior lecturer at The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts in Liverpool, U.K.
  • "It's rejuvenating to feed off of the energy of these dancers. From the classes to the performances, they inspire creativity and remind us why we love this particular art form." - Kiesha Lalama, associate professor of dance at Point Park University
  • "NHSDF is a great networking opportunity. Schools from across the globe join together and it's just really neat. The classes are incredible and the weekend raises the bar of teaching. It's a wonderful way to give our students a broader perspective of dance. We had so much fun in Pittsburgh, it's a beautiful city and the architecture is gorgeous. My students were amazed." - Robin Jaecklein, a dance instructor at Tacoma School of the Arts in Tacoma, Wash.

More About: Downtown Pittsburgh, Conservatory of Performing Arts, National High School Dance Festival, international, dance