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Dance Squad Set To Defend Championships

Published: January 2, 2017

Traditionally one of the top dance programs in the state, Newtown High School’s squad — coming off championship success a year ago — is looking for more of the same in 2017.

The Newtown dancers won South-West Conference championships in both the jazz and hip hop divisions, and earned the state title in the jazz category, finishing as the runner-up school in the state hip hop competition.

Newtown is coached by Cheryl Stenz, and the squad is led by captains Riley Smith, Emma Short, and Lauren Villamana.

“I’m excited for the season. We’re working very hard in practices to go back to SWCs and states and defend titles,” Smith said.

The girls understand that they will have to work hard, as always, to retain their championship bragging rights, and will have to overcome losses of four graduates from last year’s lineup.

“It’s definitely a process, and everybody’s working really hard. There’s definitely a chance we can put it together and win SWCs and states,” Short said.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of work — a lot of teamwork. We can do it.” Villamana added.

Stenz notes that the goal every year is to successfully defend titles; an SWC win this year would make it five straight years at the top of the conference.

“This year’s team is full of talent in all styles and they are spending time strengthening their technique in order to stay on top,” Stenz said. “Although we are working with the same choreographers, each year brings more creative and difficult choreography.”

The SWC championships are scheduled for January 28, with the state competition slated for March 4. Until championship season, the dancers will be busy practicing and entertaining the fans at halftime of basketball games.

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