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Utah performers hope to impress ‘World of Dance’ judges

OREM, Utah – Two Utah dancers are getting their chance to show the nation what they’ve got on this season’s “World of Dance.” The show premiered Tuesday night on NBC. Contestants Charity Anderson, 18, and Andres Peñate, 18, have been dancing together since they were eight and did not hesitate to enter this year’s contest.

“When I saw that call for auditions last summer, I knew we needed to enter,” Peñate said.

The two have been training since last June and made it onto the show, which started taping in January. They say their shared love of dance and determination made them a perfect fit.

“We could really feed off of each other and we could really work together to get things done,” Peñate said. “We could really voice our own opinions.”

Peñate, of Legacy Dance Studio in Orem, made it onto the first season last year with a group but decided to just enter with Anderson this time around. It was a welcome change.

“I am so glad we got to pair up this season,” Anderson said. “The first season, I was obsessed with it, and so the experience — just being there seeing everyone — it was like ‘wow.’”

Anderson has trained with her family, who owns Charisma Dance Studio in Springville, all her life, and said the most important gift she has been given is support.

“Just having all our friends and family and everyone that we know support us, it’s really confidence-building,” Anderson said.

The two are competing with their contemporary-style routines in the show’s junior category. They hope their story encourages others to work hard for their dreams.

“I really hope that people are just inspired to just take a chance, because at first we just had no expectations, but we enjoyed every minute of being contestants,” Peñeta said.

“World of Dance” features judges: Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and NE-YO. It was the most-watched new summer alternative series in 10 years and has already been renewed for a third season.

“World of Dance” airs on KSL Tuesday nights from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.