BIG RAPIDS — With nearly a year of practice, hard work and determination under their belts, 28 young dancers involved with Rhythmic Sky Dance Studios, Inc., in Big Rapids, are excited to be heading to the World Dance Championship in New Jersey.

The dancers, ages 6 to 14 from the surrounding area and counties, qualified for the world championship after recently winning a statewide competition.

Dancers will leave for New Jersey on Aug. 29, and will participate in group dances during the competition on July 30, and Aug. 2 and 4.

Stefanya McGuckin, director for Rhythmic Sky Dance Studios, Inc., is proud and excited about the opportunity to compete on a world level.

“This is the first year we are all going as a big team,” she said, adding they have been training since last August, but some of the youth have been dancing since they were 3 to 4 years old. “We are super excited. We only have two more practices before we leave. We are nervous, but excited.”

The group will compete in jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and a musical theater production of Aladdin. Three choreographers created the dance routines, including McGuckin, Katelyn Mlujeak and Lindsay Spencer.

McGuckin said none of this would have been possible without the support of local communities.

“The only reason all 28 students on the team get to go is because the parents put on fundraisers around the communities to pay for travel and lodging. We are so unbelievably grateful for all of the support. It exceeded our expectations,” she said.

Laya Griffin, a sophomore from Baldwin High School, is thrilled about the trip.

“I am excited to dance with a bunch of people from other states and see how we can compete against everyone,” she said.