By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dance students from throughout the region gathered at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia Sunday for the first annual Youth Dance Fest.

“This is a way to showcase these talented young dancers and it’s a way to bring them all together,” festival director Melissa Chisena says.

Chisena says more than 100 pre-professional dancers where there to perform a variety of disciplines. It’s not a competition, and the dancers who spoke with KYW Newsradio say they love the pressure-free environment:

“You’re not going to be judged and scored. People are going to see you for what you love to do, and that’s it.”

“I think it’s a lot of fun, you get to meet a lot of new people.”

Countless hours of hard work went into practice and training, which makes showtime that much more special.

“I get a feeling inside of me that I can’t really describe,” says this dancer. “Everything just disappears and it’s just you and the stage and it’s just the best feeling.”

Many of the dancers say they hope to pursue a career in the industry after they graduate high school.

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