About the Competition Team

Join The Putnam Dance Center’s Competition Team!

About Us

Students at The Putnam Dance Center have been competing regionally and nationally since 2002.  Our competition dancers have not only made connections to last a lifetime, but have improved in their technique, performance skills, communication skills, and work ethic. They have learned to work together as a group for a common goal, one of the best life experiences dance can offer. In addition to this, competition has provided excellent opportunities for dancers to test their skills with other dancers from around the country. We have had numerous routines place first overall, obtain titles, and receive judges awards. Check out some of our accomplishments over the years here

One aspect The Putnam Dance Center values immensely in competition, is that it is not the size of the trophy, or the color of the medal that matters. There are so many factors that go into award placement, and it is extremely important to us that our dancers not only recognize their own growth within themselves, and their dance, but also appreciate the experiences and memories that they are creating. Competition is an opportunity to learn more about yourself as a performer, get feedback from professionals in the field, and connect with others in the industry.

We hope that you’ll join the team!


Benefits of Competing

Dancers have the opportunity to learn from not only their choreographers, but also from locally, nationally, and sometimes internationally accredited judges. It is through these experiences that the students are able to hone in on their technique and performance skills to learn as much as they can while having fun performing on stage! This is done through video/audio feedback, written feedback, and scoring amongst other dancers from other studios. Also, various competitions will have conventions where dancers will be able to take class from well known teachers, have the opportunity to earn scholarships, and learn from watching other dancers their age.

In addition to gaining feedback on their dancing, students are able to be a part of a closely knit team that supports each other through thick in thin, giving them the opportunity to make life long friendships. The level of responsibility in the competition dancers often grows as well, as they are responsible for being prepared, remembering choreography and notes, being on time, and being a team player.  It is a great way to strive to be the best you can be as both a dancer and a person!


Performances Outside Competition

The Putnam Dance Center competition team students have the opportunity of performing more than just in the recital. In addition to the regional and national competitions we attend, every year we hold our annual “Dance and Dessert.” This event serves as a fundraiser for the team, but also gives our students the chance to perform their numbers on stage before competing them. Often, friends and family are not able to travel with us to competition which makes this a great opportunity for our loved ones to see us perform! Our dancers have also performed in events such as the Woodstock Fair, and in various nursing homes in the surrounding area.



No audition is necessary to be on the team. Requirements differ between our three levels:

Level 1Level 2, and Level 3

Placement in each level is to be determined by the student’s teacher(s) and the studio director. General class requirements include:

  • Class requirements per week for L3 Dancers:
    • 2 Ballet, 1 Jazz, 1 Modern, 1 Conditioning, Dance Education, and (if different) a class in the style in which they are competing.
  • Class requirements per week for L2 Dancers:
    • 2 Ballet, 1 Jazz, 1 Conditioning and (if different) a class in the style in which they are competing.
  • Class requirements per week for L1 Dancers:
    • 1 Ballet, 1 Jazz and (if different) a class in the style in which they are competing.

Students should be available for Saturday and/or Sunday rehearsals.


For other rules, regulations, and inquires, contact us at


or by email at



Competition Season!

 These girls have put in countless hours at the studio working hard in their classes, and rehearsing their routines to prepare for the regional competitions coming up. The hard work is certainly paying off! We are so proud to watch you all shine on stage, and support not only your own teammates, but other dancers from different studios. Keep up the great work!


Meet the Team!

Janelle Charron

Janelle Charron has been dancing for 10 years, and competing for 5. She absolutely loves contemporary dance, and will be performing in this style for her solo. Janelle is not only an outstanding dancer, but a student as well. She has received 1st honors every year of high school, and was awarded student of the quarter/month in five classes, inducted into the national honor society, and was elected vice president of a club called Future Business Leaders of America. Janelle has received the PDC’s highest award “Outstanding Student Award,” and has received several other studio and competition awards for her routines.

Bel Bolender

Isabel Bolender has been dancing for 8 years and is joining the PDC Competition team with a jazz solo, and 3 group routines. She loves jazz because it feels amazing to dance to. She says when she hears the rhythm of the music, she can create an amazing dance that makes her happy, and she loves to dance in a jazzy way! She also enjoys acro because she can feel free to let herself be in the moment.  Bel’s favorite dance memory was when she was 9 years old. Her solo in competition was Macavity in the musical play CATS and she received a special award while attending Beyond The Stars called “You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me” for being so in character with her routine!

Alena Clayton

Alena Clayton has been dancing with The Putnam Dance Center for 7 years and is joining the competition team for the first time this year! Her favorite style to dance is Jazz and she is so excited to perform with Alexis in a jazz duo. Someone that inspires her to dance is Yvie Bessette, because she is a gorgeous dancer and a wonderful teacher. When she’s not dancing, Alena loves to bake with her mom (especially cookies!) and read. She as also received high honor roll four times at school!

Riley Linkin

This is Riley’s 8th year dancing at The PDC, and 1st year on the competition team. This year, Riley will be performing a Hip Hop trio with Alexis and Caroline. She is also really inspired by her fellow team member Sherri who is always so hard working and determined! While Riley loves hip hop, her favorite style of dance is modern because it is a mixture of different styles. On top of dancing so much, Riley likes to read, play video games, sing, and do theatre.

Victoria Checko

Victoria Checko has been dancing for 7 years, and is joining The Putnam Dance Center’s Competition Team performing a solo, and duo with her sister Samantha. Performing is Victoria’s favorite thing to do, especially in the styles of Contemporary, Jazz, and Ballet because they all focus on technique, but are also very different from each other. Her favorite dance memory was when she became friends with Yvie, Kelsey, and Janelle at the competition team welcome party, I love the three of them so much.

Samantha Checko

Samantha Checko has been dancing for 6 years and this is her first year on The Putnam Dance Center’s Competition Team. She is so excited to perform in both her favorite styles of dance, Jazz and Hip Hop, because they are both sassy, and she feels like she can be herself when dancing. In addition to dancing, she loves singing, playing piano, and doing gymnastics in her yard. Sam feels that Sabrina has really inspired her to not worry about the moves and just bring it and her be herself. Kelsey Rioux, has inspired her not to worry about what anyone else thinks about you. Sam just loves to dance and feels every class she takes Is memorable.

Yvie Bessette

Yvie Bessette is one of our graduating seniors, and has been dancing with The Putnam Dance Center for 15 years, and has been on the team for 5 years. On top of this, Yvie has received the Headmaster’s award, and has achieved high honors. Jazz is Yvie’s favorite style, because she feels she can be her true sassy persona: “Aquafina.” Not only does she love to dance, she also loves to sing and act in musicals, and teach/choreograph for her students at The PDC. Someone that has particularly inspired Yvie is Jenn Paquette, because she is such an inspiring dancer, choreographer, and human being. She is so grateful to have Jenn as a mentor and fellow veggie!

Courtney Greene

Courtney Greene has been dancing for 14 years, and this is her 4th year returning to the competition team. One of her favorite dance memories growing up was her duo with Kelsey Field (including their experience with the lights going off on stage!) Courtney has received The Putnam Dance Center’s “Outstanding Student Award,” and has also made the Dean’s List at QVCC. When she’s not dancing, she loves to go shopping, practice yoga, and attend yoga classes.

Kelsey Field

Kelsey Field is one of our graduating seniors this year, and has been dancing for 14 years, 10 of them on the Competition Team! Last year, Kelsey won a title at Elite Dance Competition, and has won 1st overall twice, in addition to a 2nd, and 3rd overall placing. She also loves to choreograph, especially with Yvie as this is their 3rd year self-choreographing a duo for competition. Kelsey is so thankful to have been able to grow up with such an amazing group of people (love you Yvie and Nel!).

Madisyn Raymond

Madisyn has been dancing for 11 years at The Putnam Dance Center, and this is her 2nd year on the Competition Team.  In addition to dancing, she loves to sing and was selected to participate in the Quinebaug Music Educators Honors Choir in 7th and 8th grade. Madi is very excited to perform a modern duo with Lydia for competition. She is inspired by both Yvie, and Janelle as fellow dancers because they are able to express themselves with their bodies, so you understand what they are feeling. Madi is also inspired by Miss Erin for always bringing out the best in her, and Miss Lisa for always pushing her to do more.

Aloka Houde

Aloka has been dancing for 7 years, and this is her 3rd year with competitive dance. Each year she has been on the competition team, she has competed with at least 1 tap routine. Tap is her favorite style of dance because she loves being loud and moving, and even watching tap. Her favorite dance memory has been meeting Madi, Lydia, and others at The PDC and when she went to Dance Inspirations & met Maddie and Bel. When Aloka isn’t dancing, you can usually find her shopping, having sleepovers, playing with her dogs, Cooper & Dante, watching Netflix, eating candy, or going to Wendy’s!

Caroline Costa

Caroline has been dancing for 8 years at The Putnam Dance Center and has had perfect attendance every year! Aside from dancing, Caroline also loves to play soccer, basketball, attend performances, draw, and play with her 2 younger siblings and 8 cousins. She has also won Principal’s Award, Artist of the Month, and several others for responsibility, respect, and kindness. Sabrina and Miss Erin have inspired Caroline to be herself. Miss Annette and Miss Kelsey have inspired me to dance with my heart. Miss Lisa and Miss Janelle have inspired me to be graceful in ballet and sassy/fun in my Jazz class.

Lydia Orlowski

Lydia has been dancing at The Putnam Dance Center for 7 years, and this is her 2nd year on the Competition Team. Lydia loves to dance at the studio, and her favorite dance memory was when she, Kalynn, and Madi performed a Hip Hop trio at the age of 7-8 years old, the lights went out in their performance, but they kept dancing! Lydia is also involved in many other activities. She loves any kind of art, and has won awards at a few art shows, including the Connecticut National Fire Poster contest. Lydia has been on honor roll almost her entire life, and she rehabilitates animals with her mother.

Madison Williams

Madison has been dancing for a total of 9 years, and has been competing for 6. Her favorite style of dance is lyrical, because she loves the emotional storytelling. She has also received several awards at competition, including supreme platinum on her solo, 3rd overall, most photogenic at Beyond The Stars, and an award for “Broadway Bound.” Outside of dance, you can find Maddie babysitting, singing, writing songs, hanging out with her friends and family, playing with her dogs, playing guitar and piano, shopping, and camping.

Michaela LaFlamme

Michaela has been dancing for 6 years at The Putnam Dance Center, and 2 years on the Competition Team. One of Michaela’s favorite dance memories was when she and her teammates placed in the top 10 at a competition. At the studio, Miss Annette and Miss Kelsey have both inspired her to want to teach others to dance. When she’s not dancing, Michaela loves to draw, paint, play outside, and play pranks on her sisters. She also assisted classmates in making 1000 paper cranes for Alex Trebek at school.

Sherrie Simoneau

Sherrie has been dancing for 11 years total, with this being her first year on the Competition Team. She can’t wait to perform her Hip Hop solo “Me Too.” Hip Hop is her favorite style because it comes easiest to her, and it’s the most fun. At the studio, Sherrie has received the “Love of Dance Scholarship,” and is an assistant teacher in two Hip Hop classes. Besides dance, Sherrie enjoys playing club and school soccer, school and AAU basketball, and painting. She and her soccer team had afternoon tea with the Women’s Professional Liverpool soccer team this past Spring!

Abigail Bassett

Abby has been dancing for 9 years at The Putnam Dance Center. Besides dancing, Abby has many hobbies! She loves to tie-dye, do crafts, play outside, and hang out with her friends. She is also very passionate about helping the environment, and has started her own environmental movement to try and do just that.  She calls it EEALO, which stands for Endangered Ecosystems and Living Organisms. On top of this, Abby is very diligent in school. She has been student of the month 3 years in a row, received the Most Responsible Award in 5th grade, has been on high honor roll, had a story published, and was nominated to attend the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC.

Eileen Walker

Eileen Walker has been dancing for 7 years at The Putnam Dance Center.  Her favorite style of dance is modern, because it flows and lets her show her emotions. One of her favorite memories was learning her modern recital dance last year with Cece and Ella. Miss Erin has been an inspiration to Eileen because she makes dancing fun, and Miss Janelle for challenging the class to prepare them for the next level of dance.

Alexis Beausoleil

Alexis has been dancing for 4 years at The Putnam Dance Center. She loves doing Hip Hop and Jazz, especially her competition routines with Alena, Riley and Caroline because she loves dancing with them. And, her teachers are awesome! Yvie has particularly inspired her because she puts a lot of her time and energy into her dancing, and is so talented. One of Alexis’ favorite memories is performing at the Matulitis Nursing home, and seeing how much fun the residents have watching them. Alexis has also been on honor roll 5 times and has been a part of leadership at school.

Zoe Kaliszewski

Zoe has been dancing for 8 years at The PDC, and is joining the Competition Team for the first time this year. One of her favorite dance memories was at the welcome party for the competition team. At dance, Miss. Kelsey, Miss. Janelle, Miss Yvie, and Miss. Lisa inspire Zoe to always push to be better. She absolutely loves jazz because of how much fun it is, and doing gymnastics for fun! Not to mention her love for horse back riding too.

Kalynn Dombkowski

Kalynn has been dancing for 6 years, and this is her second year on The Putnam Dance Center’s Competition Team. Her favorite style of dance is Lyrical because she feels she can express her emotions, which while dance, is her favorite thing to do. She also likes all the different textures of lyrical. A dancer that has inspired Kalynn is Kelsey Field because she loves watching her dance. She finds Kelsey so entertaining and thinks she is a great dancer. Kalynn strives to be like Kelsey! When she isn’t dancing, Kalynn is usually listening to music, reading, or shopping. On top of this, she is also in a leadership program at school.

Bethany Nieves

Bethany has been dancing for 6 years at The Putnam Dance Center and this is her first year on the Competition Team. Bethany’s favorite style of dance is Hip Hop because she likes how fast it can be, and how different the movements can be. Someone who inspires Bethany is Yvie. Bethany thinks she is such a strong and amazing dancer, and is thankful for how much she has taught her in the past few years! In addition to dancing, Bethany loves to play basketball.

Published on December 17, 2018 at 12:28 pm  Comments Off on About the Competition Team