High school dance teams bring the noise at MAU as Lamoille nets two wins; MAU second in pom

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BENNINGTON — Effort. Precision. Execution. Sportsmanship. Deafening crowd noise.

That's the formula for successful athletic events at Kates Gym at Mount Anthony Union High School. And Saturday's high school dance meet, hosted by MAU and featuring teams from Burr and Burton Academy and four other Vermont schools, checked off all the boxes.

Varsity and JV athletes from the six schools spun, jumped, kicked, stretched and occasionally lifted each other to carefully choreographed routines before an enthusiastic crowd that held up Kates Gym's reputation for ear-splitting volume and cheered for every team that took the floor.

"The Vermont state dance coaches are amazing and we strive to push our teams to support and encourage each other," Mount Anthony coach Erica Cummings said of the atmosphere. "We are all there because we want to be inspired and we want to have fun. Yes, we all love the competitive part of the competition, but ultimately we love watching and supporting each other. It only makes us grow and be better as a team too."

Dance is a Vermont Principals Association sanctioned winter sport, with championships held in three disciplines: pom, jazz, and hip-hop. Each of the six teams competing on Saturday entered in two disciplines, with Burr and Burton competing in jazz and hip-hop and MAU entered in pom and hip-hop. Each performance lasts no longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and is scored by a panel of judges who critique the performance on technical and artistic merit.

"These dancers are incredible athletes who train and constantly need to keep their bodies in shape and constantly push themselves to be better," Cummings said. She said her team practices five days a week, and on their own to nail the technical skills and timing that need to be on point.

"A dance team is judged on how well the team is in sync," she added. "Imagine working with a group of 10-18 girls at time and making sure they are all doing the exact thing at the exact same time."

Mount Anthony came in second to South Burlington in the pom competition. Lamoille Union High School, from Hyde Park, took first in both hip-hop and jazz, while Springfield and Colchester were second in hip-hop and jazz, respectively.

Burr and Burton finished third in jazz and tied for third in hip-hop with MAU.

As it's their only home dance meet of the season, MAU took the opportunity to honor the program's seniors in a brief ceremony after the meet. Honored were seniors Molly Austin, Jordan Barilone, Marissa DeJesus, Jayden Dunham, Olivia LeRay, Alicia Maisonet, Kierstin Martin, Brooklyn Merriam, Brianna Murray, Savannah Rogers, Kourtney Saunders, LaShea Stweart, Sydney Sweet, Kyonna Tobin, and Ellen Woodard.


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