The Needham High varsity dance team become state champions this past weekend, beating archrivals Braintree for the title at the championship matchup at Wachusett High School, according to coach Paula Callanan. Weymouth placed third.
It's the second state championship for Needham's 8-year-old team, Callanan said. The team were also Bay State League champions earlier this year. Teams are judged on difficulty, musicality, showmanship and other categories by a panel of five judges.
"As a sport, varsity dance is still growing, and it's bigger in the south than it is here," Callanan said. "We're hoping in the future that there will be regional and national championships, like there are for cheerleading."
The team consists of 29 dancers - 25 competitiors and 5 alternates. Callanan said she and the team's other two coaches, Donna Greymont and Trish Masi, are all former Needham students and dancers themselves.
For their win, the team danced to a medley of songs ranging from selections from the Broadway musical "Rent" to Stevie Wonder's hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Callanan said that the kicklines that ended the routine were what clinched the victory.
"By the time you get to those perfect kicklines, you know when you've got them on your side," Callanan said.
The team has 6 graduating seniors, all of whom intend to continue dance in college, Callanan said. An end-of-year banquet taking place on Friday will give the dancers a chance to celebrate their victory, as well as elect new team captains for next year.
The 2011 Needham High varsity dance team is made up of members Jackie Agranat, Jayme Agranat, Angie Bello, Jackie Bonasia, Lauren Breen, Kristi Carlson, Karissa Chao, Alison Cohan, Kelly DiMatteo, Lindsay Garcia, Meaghan Gentile, Jess Goodman, Isabella Hayes, Marissa Jensen, Claire Keltie, Carly Levinson, Jade Marson, Kelly McEvoy, Emily Munstedt, Rachel Neckes, Kendra O’Connor, Allie Roberts, Jacqui Santamaria, Savanna Simpson, Victoria Stavropoulos, Carly Weinstein, Sara Windhorst, Becki Winer, and Paige Yacobian.
Sarah Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.