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Local students dance into top spots

Five Medford ballet students danced their way into top placements at the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals in Las Vegas, and their two instructors, Elyse and David Roxander, were awarded the Outstanding Teacher title for the second time.

Elyse and David Roxander run Studio Roxander, a ballet school offering training for students 3 years of age and older.

Their youngest son, Jake Roxander, won the Grand Prix title for overall excellence in both classical and contemporary dance among male and female participants. He and his partner, Grace Hill, won first place in the ensemble competition, performing a classical pas de deux from the ballet “The Flames of Paris.”

Studio Roxander has taken students to the Grand Prix semifinals before, but they usually attended in Seattle. This is the first time students from the Medford studio have gone to the larger Las Vegas competition.

Jake Roxander will compete in the Grand Prix finals in New York City April 20.

The Youth America Grand Prix holds annual dance competitions in 22 U.S. cities and eight international locations. Winners are awarded scholarships to dance programs.

Other Medford students who placed were Grace Hill, placing in the top 12 in the Senior Division classical and contemporary solo competitions; Alex Marshall, placing in the top 24 in the Senior Division classical competition; LeeAnn Hankins, placing in the top 12 in the Junior Division classical, and Caitlyn Gardell, placing in the top 12 in the Pre-Competitive Division classical competition.