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Fort Wayne Native Wins “Center Stage” Talent Variety Show

With the stage lights shining bright at The Clyde Theatre, Sockie Phommachanh was named the 2023 1st place winner at “Center Stage: Fort Wayne’s Premier Talent Show” following an impressive breakdance performance.

Earning 2nd place was Conner Johnson who featured American Sign Language (ASL) in his musical theater performance. Vocal performer Ellise Young took home 3rd place honors. Proceeds from the event totaled nearly $55,000 to benefit people with disabilities through Turnstone Center’s services.

Center Stage Top 3 Performers (l-r) 1st Place Sockie Phommachanh, 3rd Place Ellise Young, 2nd Place Conner Johnson.

“This is reassurance to me that it’s important to hang on to being a kid, your creative side,” said Sockie, “And, an event like this is needed. It is an ongoing fight for changing the perspective of the world. It’s a start to getting people to think more about inclusivity in all forms, with buildings, events, and experiences.”

Sockie’s first-place finish earned him a trophy and a $1000 check.

Sockie was born and raised in Fort Wayne, IN and has been dancing and performing for 14 years. I help run a street dance crew in Indianapolis known as “Insert Crew Name Here” (icnhdance.com) that teaches, judges, and performs breakdancing, popping, and krump throughout the state. He is working on his Doctoral degree in occupational therapy at Huntington University and working as a volunteer camp counselor at Hoosier Burn Camp located in Battle Ground, IN. Sockie credits Turnstone with helping him pursue the life he leads today after he received services for 7 years following his own burn injury.

“The caliber of talent we have seen from our community is incredible,” said Rena Shown, Chief of Development and Strategic Partnerships at Turnstone. “This year’s lineup blew us away and we’re excited to continue bringing this event to Fort Wayne. The diversity of art and talent shared with us from the stage is representative of the richness that surrounds us.”

Sockie also performed at this year’s disAbilities Expo on Saturday, May 13 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

“Center Stage” is a first-of-its-kind talent experience in our community, elevating talent and performing arts for all people with and without disabilities. Art, in all of its forms, is the expression of life from the artist’s perspective. Through art we all have the opportunity to experience someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and point of view, and challenge us to respect diversity in life for the beauty that it creates.

“Center Stage: Fort Wayne’s Premier Talent Show” at the Clyde Theatre, featured 10 local performing artists who were invited to the competition after being chosen from preliminary submissions. Turnstone Center believes in a people-first approach to empowerment and celebrating talent-first opportunities.

Efforts are underway to confirm the next Center Stage event dates. Community members and local artists are encouraged to watch Turnstone.org/CenterStage for more information.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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