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High school dance teams advance to state championship

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Ready for the next step: The Greenfield-Central varsity Blue Fusion dance team is among several local teams that advanced to the state finals, which will be held next month in New Castle.
Ready for the next step: The Greenfield-Central varsity Blue Fusion dance team is among several local teams that advanced to the state finals, which will be held next month in New Castle.

GREENFIELD — Five local dance teams have proven they’ve got the moves to compete in the state championship next month.

Saturday, teams from Mt. Vernon and Greenfield danced in the Indiana High School Dance Team Association Southern Regional Finals. Their scores qualified them to move on to the state contest March 16 at New Castle High School.

Mt. Vernon had two teams at the contest, one representing the high school and one representing the middle school. Both teams excelled, especially considering the dance program was founded just four years ago, said Tracy Adamson, whose daughter, Karlyn Hurd, is a freshman on the team.

Head Coach Ellen Jones oversees both programs but primarily works with the high school group. Assistant coach Amanda Graham focuses on the middle school dance numbers.

Jones had extra celebrating to do Saturday. Her daughter, McKenna Jones, a sophomore, advanced to the state finals in the Senior Duet Category. She danced with Maria Rentas, also a sophomore.

Each of the Mt. Vernon teams competed in the novice division of three categories of dance: pom, jazz and hip hop.

“They’re ecstatic,” said Adamson, who is president of the Mt. Vernon Dance Team Organization, the teams’ booster club.

There are 15 middle school dancers and 21 high school dancers.

The middle school team placed second in pom, third in jazz and fourth in hip hop. The high school team placed second in pom, second in jazz and fourth in hip hop.

Both teams will compete in all three categories at the state level. For the high school team, competing in hip hop in the championship round is a first.

“We’ve seen our placements get better and better and better each year,” Adamson said.

The teams are hosting their first Black and Gold Showcase March 8 at the high school for members of the community who want to see their routines but cannot attend competitions. The event is free, but donations will be accepted. Both the middle school and high school teams will show off their dance numbers. They will be joined by dancers from Dance Magic Performing Arts in Indianapolis and Accented Motions in Fortville.

For two Greenfield-Central teams, the results of Saturday’s competition were a welcome reward after a difficult start to the season.

The Blue Fusion Varsity and Blue Fusion Junior Varsity teams both advanced to the state finals despite going through several coaching staff changes early in the season.

The teams are currently coached by Brianne Thomas, who has been working with the dancers just since late last year.

The varsity team competed in pom and jazz in the high school advanced division and placed first in both categories. The Blue Fusion JV team placed second in jazz, pom and in hip hop, competing in the junior varsity advanced division.

Greenfield has three groups of dancers who completed in the small ensemble contest and advanced to the state contest as well.

Greenfield’s Junior High School Dance Team also competed in the regional middle school division and qualified for the state finals.

One of Blue Fusion’s most memorable routines this year is an emotional jazz number performed by the advanced dancers.

The dancers portray the widows and families of military officers who died while serving their country. The dance shows the emotional welcoming of a new widow to the group. Parents and supporters of the team stood and silently waved American flags in lieu of cheering.

While local dance teams are still celebrating the outcome of their performance at regionals, they know there’s a lot of work to be done between now and the state championship, Adamson said. Dancers will spend the next few weeks perfecting their routines.

“They dance and dance and dance,” Adamson said. “They put in six to eight hours a week of dancing and dancing.”

The state competition March 16, which will feature 50-plus schools from across Indiana, is open to the public. Admission is $12; $7 for children under 5.

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