Lamoille Union High School’s varsity dance team hosted several other squads at a competition on Saturday, Jan. 4.

Always a contender for the state championship, the Lancers look poised to make another run at a title this season. Lamoille took first place with its jazz routine at the event, edging Mount Mansfield and BFA St. Albans. Mount Mansfield, also an annual contender, claimed the top spot in hip-hop followed by Lamoille and BFA St. Albans. North Country, Richford and Missisquoi also competed.

The Lamoille junior varsity squad’s jazz routine won best overall in the JV meet, and Lamoille’s middle school squad, the Lancer Dancer Minis, got into the act with a special performance.

“They did a wonderful job and had even the toughest judges smiling along with their high-energy performance,” said Lamoille head coach Nichole Lafaivre-Damon.

“We would like to extend a huge thank you to all the parents, families and friends who came out and supported not only us, but the sport of dance,” at our home meet, she added. “The bleachers were full and it was so wonderful to see so many people excited about dance.”

The News & Citizen checked in with Lafaivre-Damon on what to expect from Lamoille’s dance team.

Q: How was turnout this year?

We had our largest turnout to date this year. There were only two seniors and one exchange student who left the program last year, so we had many returning dancers plus a large number of new dancers come out. We have two teams, junior varsity and varsity. Between both teams we have 39 dancers and one manager.

Q: What are some strengths of the team?

There is a lot of passion for the arts on both of our teams. These are students who spend a lot of their free time dancing and doing other types of performance such as theater, choir and band. There’s also a lot of humor with these kids. We laugh a lot! They are also great at taking constructive criticism and being critical of their own dancing, which is so important.

Q: What are your expectations for the season?

We hope to keep growing and improving with our skills and routines every week. We take the judges’ notes and comments every competition and watch our performance videos multiple times, looking for areas of improvement and ways to better our teams.

We want to always be challenging ourselves to be the best that we can be each week. We were thrilled to place first with jazz at our home event and the obvious goal is to hang on to that placement throughout the season and get our hip-hop routine up to that level.

• The Lamoille Union dance teams varsity — senior captains Katherine Mathison-Regan, Carissa Szabo and Maple Snow; seniors Carrie Chaleff, Luigi Diana and Olivia Stebbins; juniors Tara Blueter and Cadence Locke; sophomores Blythe Chouinard, Kayla Grenier, Olivia Grove-Griffith, Blanca Hernandez-Lopez, Kitana Hudgens, Calvin Kontos, Willow Snow, Emma St. Cyr, Cecilia Stefanski, Nicole Sweet, Tyler Swenson; Katie Lock, senior manager.

• Junior varsity captains are Madilyn Ruiter, Erica Slayton and Gracie Wrigley-Walsh.

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