SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL

White Hall resident Morgan “Laney” Smith, a junior at White Hall high school and dancer at MK Studios in Pine Bluff, has been chosen to represent Arkansas in the national “Dance Across the USA” project. Laney was selected from nearly 3,000 candidates across the state.

The 16-year-old currently trains under Miranda McHan and Kyle Plunkett of MK Studios. She took her first dance class when she was 3 and has been dancing ever since.

“She was one of those kids where her feet were always moving and she was always walking on her tippy toes,” Smith's mother, Angela Mobley, said in a news release.

The “Dance Across the USA” project is to showcase the variety and beauty of the country and the dancers that live within it, all in an effort to raise money for the nation’s parks, as well as for arts education in the USA, a spokesman said in the news release.

“We want to be able to promote dance as both a wonderful career and lifestyle, as well as a great benefit to the development of children,” the spokesman said.

The project’s creators will travel the U.S., meeting dancers in each state and taking their photos in a national park, state park or historic location in their home state. The end result of the project is to create a photo book with all the images created on the journey.

Once complete, a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the parks, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. The locations include Hawaii’s Volcano’s National Park, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Washington’s Olympic National Park, the Dry Tortugas islands in the Florida Keys and Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

The photos of Smith were shot in July at Gulpha Gorge, Ricks Pond and Fordyce Bathhouse at Hot Springs National Park by photographer Jonathan Givens from Miami, Florida.

Details: www.danceatusa.com or 239-784-1623.