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FDA junior varsity dance team wins state

Fort Dale Academy’s junior varsity dance team claimed top honors at the Hooper Academy-hosted AISA state competition Saturday.  Team members are, in no particular order, Hannah Sells, Dailyn Swann, Mackenzie Blackmon, Sydni Bowers, Shalyn Halford, Lilly Boswell, Kelen Kae Fleming, Mary Virginia Meadows, Quinn O’Connor, Makenna Philpot, Anne Kathryn Smith, Mackenzie Turner and Kinley Woodard.

Fort Dale Academy’s junior varsity dance team claimed top honors at the Hooper Academy-hosted AISA state competition Saturday. Team members are, in no particular order, Hannah Sells, Dailyn Swann, Mackenzie Blackmon, Sydni Bowers, Shalyn Halford, Lilly Boswell, Kelen Kae Fleming, Mary Virginia Meadows, Quinn O’Connor, Makenna Philpot, Anne Kathryn Smith, Mackenzie Turner and Kinley Woodard.

The Fort Dale Academy JV Dance Team Won first place Saturday in the 2016 AISA Dance State Championship competition’s junior high division.

The event, held at Hooper Academy, marked the first state title for Fort Dale’s dance program at either the junior varsity or varsity level.

Cindy Edgar, head coach of Fort Dale’s junior varsity dance team, said that the team was also awarded the platinum trophy for their team routine.

“That was based on their performance readiness,” Edgar said.  “Their synchronization and choreography had to be on a certain level.  The level of difficulty of the technical moves had to meet certain criteria, and they had to have at least three of the four genres—jazz, hip-hop, pom, kickline, etc.

“It couldn’t be more than 2 minutes long.  You had to have flexibility, sharpness and your team has to operate as one unit.”

They team has also had a comparatively productive and successful summer, winning second place for their home routine at the UDA Dance Camp at Auburn, and a blue superior rating for their performance.

Captain Hannah Sells, Co-captain Dailyn Swann, and Sydni Bowers were selected as UDA All Americans, as well.

“They are given a routine that they have to learn in a day and a half, and they’ll be performing it in front of the judges,” Edgar said.

“For them to have just to have the courage to try that, much less have the talent and dedication it takes to reach that level, means that I could not be any more proud of these girls.”

Many members of the junior varsity dance team moonlight as athletes in other sports, meaning the majority of the team spent three to four days a week doing summer workouts in the morning beginning as early as 6:30 p.m. and immediately joining dance team practices afterward.

“They sacrificed a lot of their time being here from 6:30 or 7 a.m. until noon four days a week,” Edgar said.

“It’s something we really appreciate, both their efforts and the sacrifice of their families.  We encourage them to participate in church groups, and we want them to be active with civic organizations.  But it’s kind of hard to squeeze in a family vacation, a mission trip, dance camp and all of their practices.  For them to accomplish what they did in the time they had is remarkable.”

Fortunately for Fort Dale Academy, the future looks even brighter for the junior varsity dance team. Of the team’s 13 members, 12 will be returning next year.

“Of my 13 girls, one is a freshman,” Edgar said. “Four of them are eighth graders, though one of my eighth graders is brand-new to dance.  And the others are all seventh graders that have never been on a dance team before.  So this is a very young and inexperienced squad, to so have reached this level so quickly is just an incredible testament to how hard they’ve worked.”

Team members are Hannah Sells, Dailyn Swann, Mackenzie Blackmon, Sydni Bowers, Shalyn Halford, Lilly Boswell, Kelen Kae Fleming, Mary Virginia Meadows, Quinn O’Connor, Makenna Philpot, Anne Kathryn Smith, Mackenzie Turner and Kinley Woodard.