The Sun News

Warner Robins team punches their way to the top of the dance world

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When Chrystie McIlwain fulfilled her longtime dream in 2015 by opening PunchFront Gymnastics and Cheer, one of her goals was to provide a place for young people to fulfill their own dreams and give them opportunities.

For McIllwain and a group of her students, that dream became a reality recently as members of a team from PunchFront traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete at one of the nation’s most prestigious dance competitions in the country, the Dance Summit.

Team members included Mary Clark Garland, Gabby Sarceno, Paris Johnson, Elisa Martinez, Rachel White, Taylor Cross, Ella Blasche and Meckli Evans.

While results of the competition were not able at press time, the sheer fact of being invited might be prize enough for the team.

The Summit, which was held in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports facility, is the beat all, end all, season capper for dance teams. The 2017 competition drew 200 teams from all over the United States. According to information from Varsity All Star, which sponsors the Dance Summit, to be able to compete at the Summit, a team must receive a bid at a prior competition.

DanceForce — the team from PunchFront — was the only team from the Middle Georgia area that was selected to compete.

“The girls have worked so hard and we are incredibly proud of them,” said Stacy Martinez, director of dance at PunchFront.

While representing both Warner Robins and the Middle Georgia area at the dance competition, the members of DanceForce also got to see the sights at Disney World.

PunchFront Gymnastics and Cheer is a local cheerleading, gymnastics and dance training facility located on Moody Road in Warner Robins.

If someone you know is interested in being on a world class dance competition team, PunchFront DanceForce will be holding auditions from 2-4 p.m. Saturday for jazz, lyrical, hip-hop and pom. Pom auditions will begin at 4 p.m. If you have questions, please email Martinez at or visit the website at

Alline Kent can be contacted at