Alexis Krones took first place in the Iroquois County Fair Talent Show’s senior division with a deeply personal dance performance Friday night.

Set to the song “Body Love” by Mary Lambert, Krones showcased many issues with appearance and body acceptance that young women face every day and encouraged them to work to overcome them.

Krones said she drew inspiration from her own struggles.

“I’ve always kind of struggled with confidence and body issues,” she said. “Recently, I’ve found ways to accept myself and be happy with who I am.”

When she came across the song “Body Love,” Krones said it was so fitting for what she had faced and chose to use it for her performance.

She has been developing the dance since March and was surprised to win Friday night.

“It feels great,” she said of winning her division. “I was not expecting it. It’s a huge surprise.”

Krones is no stranger to dancing. She’s been dancing since she was four and is a student at Studio on Main in Watseka. She’s been competing at the Iroquois County Fair Talent Show since she was seven.

Both winners from Friday’s talent show are connected with Studio on Main as the “Dance N’ Beats” group that won the junior division are also students at the dance studio.

Elaine Hibbert, the group’s instructor, said the group helped to choose the music, “Better When I’m Dancing,” for their performance.

She said they started working on developing the performance in earnest near the end of spring.

Hibbert said she was proud of the work the group had put in for their performance Friday night.

The “Dance N’ Beats” group features the following members: Lily Anderson, London Clark, Annika Greene, Addie Kingdon, Karsyn Legan, Madeyn Loy, Madison McTaggart, Sarah Parsons, Rae Stucki and Cecelia Utke.

Hibbert has also worked with Krones during her time at Studio on Main and was proud of her performance.

“I was so proud of her,” Hibbert said. “I felt she did an outstanding job. It seemed as though she really had the audience enthralled.”

She expressed her excitement for both Krones and the “Dance N’ Beats” as they will be traveling to compete at state later this year.

“I’m super excited for both,” she said.

Hibbert said the “Dance N’ Beats” will likely wait until October to really start seriously preparing for the state competition.

“I worry if they start too soon the kids will get burned out,” she said.

Hibbert said between now and then the students will get back into their usual routine before taking up training for state towards the end of October and that will be their focus until the state competition in January.

Hibbert also commented on the talent show as a whole this year, specifically pointing to the strong performances found the in senior division.

“It went very well,” Hibbert said this year’s talent show. “I thought there were some very strong competitors, especially in the senior division. I’m thrilled that Alexis won, but it could have gone any way, it really could have.”

She said this strong showing was helped by a rule change that allowed alumni from past shows to return and qualify for state again.

One of those returning alumni was Jordyn Ward, who took second place in the senior division with her powerful rendition of “One Night Only.” The “Soul Searchers,” a group consisting of Taniqua Holmes, Kennedy Oster, Makenna Pankey and Olivia Simons, place third in the division.

In the junior division, the “Sizzle & Stomp” duo of Vanysah Hickman and Aaron Greene took second place with their tap duet to “I’m Still Standing.” Madison McTaggart and Rachael Dexter earned third place with their vocal duet to “Count on Me.”