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    Laday wins state theater talent competition

    2-8-16-Laday-wins-state-talent-competition.jpgPort Arthur’s Jason Laday has dedicated his life to dance and in his heart, he knew he wasn’t second best. The problem was he just couldn’t prove it … until now.

    The Lamar State College Port Arthur Drama major won first place in a statewide talent competition during the recent Texas Educational Theatre Association convention in Houston. It’s the first time Laday has won first in any competition.

    “Winning awards isn’t really how I want to define myself,” Laday said. “But I had all these second place awards and nothing to really say I am as good as I think I am. I guess this is some validation for the hard work I’ve put into become as good a dancer as I can be.”
    The “Got Talent” competition is an annual event and part of the yearly conference attended by Lamar State College Port Arthur. Fashioned after the popular television show “America’s Got Talent,” competitors went through a round of auditions before making the final cut and going on stage to vie for the top spots at the annual TETA TheatreFest. Performances ranged from singing, to acting and dancing with competitors standing alone on stage with little more than a microphone and their talent.

    While at the conference, students are able to audition for various four-year universities that are seeking new entries for their drama departments. Among those attending from LSC-PA, three were “official auditioners,” while five were “unofficial auditioners” who had to seek out opportunities to perform for school in attendance in what amounted to open calls they might experience in the very competitive world of theater and performing. After the initial auditions with four-year institutions, Jessica Bean, Corbin Winston and Jade Gasper received a combined total of 43 callbacks from schools interested in recruiting LSCPA’s students, the most ever by a group attending the TETA event.

    “This is a great opportunity for our students to face real-world situations just like they would when auditioning for a spot on stage or in television or movies,” said Damon Gengo, LSC-PA Instructor of Drama. “To have Jason win the top spot in an open talent contest at the state level really shows the kind of talent and ability we have in our department at Lamar State College Port Arthur. We know how talented our students are and now those involved in theater across the state know as well.”