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Kidz in the Mix shines, but falls short in 'America's Got Talent'

HINSDALE – Kidz in the Mix gave it their all with an energetic original routine, bold costumes and praise from the executives at television’s “America’s Got Talent,” but a turn in the reality TV spotlight wasn’t meant to be.

“The executives stared at [the kids], and one woman she was sitting next to said to another, ‘So what do you think?’ and she said, ‘I think it was perfect,’ and the other said, ‘Oh, I think so too,’” said Tanja Pazou, who instructs the Hinsdale dance group.

The acrobatic dancers auditioned for the reality television competition in January. Despite the praise, the group was not invited to perform in Las Vegas for the celebrity judges. This was surprising to Pazou and the girls because executives filmed a behind-the-scenes segment for the show.

Pazou said she received a call a few weeks after the audition from a producer saying he would be in Hinsdale to film a breakfast scene and the kids getting up in the morning before the show.

“The director went on the rooftop outside and shot the scene from the outside in through the window,” Pazou said. “I’m like, ‘Should we really do that, what if he falls off the roof?’”

The segment was even shown on television during the competition’s Chicago auditions, but Kidz in the Mix didn’t make it to the main stage.

A combination of yoga, dance and gymnastics makes up the performance, and even though they didn’t move on in the selection process, Pazou said the 6- to 11-year-old dancers kept their chins up.

“They were disappointed, but I think they handled it pretty well,” she said. “I think they got over the fact that things do not always work out perfect, and for these kids that’s a really important thing to learn.”

The disappointment of not moving on in “America’s Got Talent” has not deterred the group. Rather, it has made them more confident knowing how much producers and executives enjoyed the act and that tryouts will come back to the area for a new season in the winter.

“I think we should definitely try out again,” she said. “Maybe for the next choreography I’m going to put something funny together, something to laugh about maybe and still with acrobatic skills and dance skills.”

In the meantime, Kidz in the Mix shot a second TV pilot with the goal to bring dance, yoga and acrobatics, along with a focus on environmental and nutritional education, to children across the country. Pazou also is working on getting a full length feature film about dance produced, which she hopes to get underway in October.

Pazou said the experience of auditioning for “America’s Got Talent” was a thrill, but to see the kids evolve into great dancers, especially those who couldn’t dance before trying the class, was something special on its own.

“They just performed in front of these executives, and then having film crews coming to Hinsdale just for them, it was a great experience they’ll never forget ... I’ll never forget it,” she said.

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