MAU dance team prepares for 2018 season

BENNINGTON — While most Mount Anthony teams have already gotten their winter seasons underway, the MAU dance team is one of the few still waiting to get its season started.

Erica Cummings enters her seventh season at the helm of the Patriots, with the first three as co-head coach with Amy Thivierge.

Last year in the postseason, MAU placed third in Pom and fifth in hip-hop.

Coming into this season, all of the Patriots dancers made goals for themselves, and Cummings has made it a point of emphasis to stick to those goals.

"We're really dedicated and determined to get to a good placement at states. That's our ultimate goal," Cummings said. "I just want the girls to try their best, really give it their all and do it together. It's a real team sport."

MAU comes into the season as a very experienced team. All but three of its dancers are juniors or seniors.

The Patriots will be carrying five seniors, nine juniors, two sophomores and one freshman on their squad this season.

The four captains for MAU are all seniors. Colleen Ahearn, Madison Owens, Macie Powers and Ally Zupko will be tasked with leading the Patriots in that role.

"Ally Zupko has been on varsity four years. Her experience, her level of everything overall is really helpful," Cummings said. "Colleen Ahearn and Madison Owens, they know their agenda, they know what they want to get done. Macie is in the same boat. They're very determined."

Dance can be a very competitive sport when it comes to competitions, so all of the girls are constantly looking to improve their craft. Cummings has seen that dedication and improvement early on.

"Even at the beginning of the season, there is a lot of edge for the girls, especially for the one's that have not been on varsity," Cummings said. "The girls who have, try to mentor them as best they can. They all really take the time to help each other get to that spot, so nobody is lagging. We have this family with each other and we're all really there for each other."

According to Cummings, a little less than half the team is new to varsity this year. One of those new additions is freshman Kiah Noel-Mayer.

Noel-Mayer hadn't danced before coming to the team, but has been impressive early on.

"She did amazing," said Cummings about the freshman. "She's very coachable. She really just wants to learn and have fun."

The dance team was scheduled to have five competitions this season. The Patriots were originally scheduled to begin its season with a competition on Saturday at Mount Mansfield, but they will no longer be competing because of expected inclement weather.

MAU's next competition will be at 1 p.m. January 20 at Springfield. They'll follow that up the following Saturday, January 27, with a competition at 1 p.m. at Burr and Burton Academy. The Patriots will have the following Saturday off, before they take on Middlebury at 1 p.m. February 10 on the road. MAU ends its season with the Vermont state championships at noon on February 17 at Vergennes High School.

Roster: Colleen Ahearn, Erika Goodell, Madison Owens, Macie Powers, Ally Zupko, Jordan Barilone, Marissa DeJesus, Alicia Maisonet, Kierstin Martin, Brianna Murray, Savannah Rogers, LaShea Stewart, Kyonna Tobin, Ellen Woodard, Alexus Robie, Sage Teal, Kiah Noel-Mayer.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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