To the electronic beat of “Pressure” by Until The Ribbon Breaks, Remington Christensen moved fluidly through leaps, flips, pirouettes and no-hand cartwheels.
He made it look ridiculously easy.
The judges noticed, giving the Pendleton teen a score of 91 for his jazz dance routine, missing the top spot by 0.6 points. The performance came during last weekend’s Tremaine Dance Convention and Competition in Las Vegas, an event that draws some of the nation’s most talented dancers.
Along with the second place honor, he won a scholarship to next year’s competition.
Christensen, 16, dances for Pendleton High School’s Rhythmic Mode and the Esprit National Dance Team. His coach is Debbie Kishpaugh, owner of Junior Jam Dance.
Christensen started learning his routine, a mixture of jazz and contemporary moves, a year ago. He took the routine to two other competitions (Onstage New York and the Spotlight Dance Cup) and scored highest in his category in both of them.
Last year, Remington and his sister Terika took first in their division with a routine designed to honor their grandfather, Lawrence Wolfgram, who died of cancer in 2015.
Remington’s mother, Wendy Christensen, called her son a natural who only in the last couple of years started testing his limits.
“Debbie (Kishpaugh) used to get really mad at him,” Wendy said. “She could see his potential, but he’d just go dance. In the past two years, he’s invested a lot more time and energy into dance. It really matters to him.”
Remington said he trains about five hours each week focusing on choreography and technique. He called dance a way to push himself, but also a haven.
“It’s a getaway for me if I’m having a rough day,” he said. “I know I can go dance and let all my emotions go.”
This summer, he won a spot at the Backhausdance, a four-day intensive dancing experience at Chapman University. In vying to become part of the contemporary dance company, he included a video of himself dancing ballet and another of the jazz/contemporary solo. He and his fellow dancers started out each day with Pilates to strengthen their cores and then spent the days learning choreography, dancing and performing.
At Tremaine, winning the scholarship might have been his most impressive feat. The 200-or-so competitors first danced a ballet routine together. Fifty of the dancers moved on to learn a jazz/combination routine. Thirty were dismissed. Judges watched the final 20 all weekend and awarded scholarships to four. This is the third time Remington has won.
The PHS junior hopes to dance in college.
Contact Kathy Aney at email@example.com or 541-966-0810.