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'America's Got Talent,' thanks to Cranberry dance studio

| Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

“America's Got Talent” judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mendel are scouring the nation to find America's next big star, and it looks like Pittsburgh is on the map in the nationwide search.

Students from Studio 19 Dance Complex in Cranberry will be featured June 25 on NBC's hit summer competition series.

The studio first gained attention in February, when owner and choreographer Tammy Croftcheck-Tallarico received a call from a producer for “America's Got Talent” after being referred by a talent scout who had seen the group at a competition.

“We never even submitted an audition tape,” Croftcheck-Tallarico says.

The group then flew to Chicago to perform twice for producers and executive producers. Then, in April, Croftcheck-Tallarico was told the group would be performing in front of the celebrity judges and a crowd of more than 2,000 people later that month in New York City.

The act — made up of 11 girls ages 11 to 18 — is similar to a Cirque du Soleil show, with dance, tumbling, contortion, acrobatics and classical pointe throughout, says Croftcheck-Tallarico, who choreographed the number with dance partner Katie Watts.

Studio 19 is no stranger to national success. Graduates of the studio have gone on to become back-up dancers for artists like Kanye West and Jennifer Lopez, to perform in movies and shows like “Glee,” and have been featured at the American Music and VH1 awards shows.

Croftcheck-Tallarico gets weekly updates from previous students and feels that it is “beyond rewarding” to see and hear about all that they have accomplished.

The group is eager to watch the show together, even though some of the older girls will be dancing at a competition in Atlantic City.

“We're bummed about it,” Croftcheck-Tallarico says. “But we're going to use Skype and do the whole bit to watch the show as a family.”

Catch Studio 19's “America's Got Talent” premiere at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Emma Deihle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7834 or edeihle@tribweb.com.

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