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In the spotlight: Local dancers take top spots in state competition

From left are Jordan Bee, Cara Westcott and Elle Baker

From left are Jordan Bee, Cara Westcott and Elle Baker

Sophomores Jordan Bee and Elle Baker didn’t allow the winter flooding at Eureka High to stop their dancing dreams – they simply improvised.

Practicing in the atrium, despite a floor not conducive to jumping and no mirrors to self-assess, the Eureka High Golden Line dancers went to the Missouri Dance Team Association State Competition and danced their way to a first place Division 6A team win; and a respective first-  and second-place finish in the solo sophomore category. Rounding out the third-place solo finish was John F. Kennedy Catholic High sophomore Cara Westcott, who dances on the Kennedy dance team. Her team had a second-place finish in its category as well.

“We have a really close bond,” Baker said about the Golden Line Dance Team, coached by Kara Mueller. “We worked hard and pushed each other.”

With no team win last year, the Eureka team had new determination going into the state competition.

“We came back from state empty-handed last year,” Bee said. “It gave us new motivation to do better this year, with five new freshmen, one new sophomore and one new junior on the team,”

The team performed two routines, one in pom and the other jazz, and earned its first-place finish with the highest combined score.

“Our coach and team captains Zoe and Mallory led really well. We couldn’t have done it without them.” Baker said.

Individually, Baker performed a high-energy jazz routine she choreographed herself; Bee performed a contemporary solo that she also choreographed.

Westcott’s team led by Coach Laura Burch is considerably smaller, with only six dancers. The Kennedy Dance Team won second place in the Division 1A Hip Hop and Lyrical category. Like Baker, in the solo round Westcott performed a jazz routine that she choreographed. It was her  first year on the dance squad.

“Not all students are afforded the opportunity to perform solos so I appreciate the support of my school, my coaches and dance instructors to be so successful in my first time performing with Kennedy,” Westcott said.

The girls commit many hours each week to their schools’ dance teams, performing at varsity football and basketball games, pep rallies and special events. But their training doesn’t end there; the 15-year-olds also are longtime students at Renee Johnson’s Dance Studio.

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