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Blue Angels from James Clemens win regional dance championship

MADISON – The Blue Angels Dance Team at James Clemens High School traveled to Henderson, Ky. for National Dance Alliance competition and returned to Madison as regional champions.

Blue Angels claimed first place in categories for pom, game day and hip hop. This win places them as three-time regional champs.

The 21-member group includes seven seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen, head coach Becca Courtney said. Courtney teaches human services and fashion.

The competition attracted 12 high schools, four middle schools and one college team from Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

“Pom consists of many sharp motions to create visuals. These motions are similar to cheerleaders’ (moves) in sideline chants/cheers,” Courtney said.

“We strive to create dynamic and intricate visuals with poms. This year, we chose the theme ‘Fly’ to incorporate our school being the Jets and had a few formations that resemble a jet,” Courtney said.

For customized music, the Blue Angels use tracks from a professional who works with many dance teams and studios.

“Game-Day,” a new division, has three sections: Fight Song, Spirit Rising and Time-Out routine. “We chose to create a dance with a band song called, ‘Hey Song,’ for the Spirit Rising section. Then, we chose a fun, upbeat throwback hip-hop dance for Time-Out,” Courtney said.

For Hip Hop, judges look for breaking, popping, locking and ‘krumping,’ along with head springs, straight leg head springs and front handspring.

Hearing the announcement that they won, “the girls’ emotions were all excitement mixed with a sense of pride, knowing their hard work paid off,” Courtney said. “The girls were more shocked with winning Game Day,” their first time in the category.

Courtney danced competitively at Liberty and Discovery middle schools and Bob Jones High School. “Coaching the Blue Angels is such an honor, a privilege and dream of mine,” she said. “Dance, along with other sports, allows students a creative outlet that teaches more than just dance.”

To participate in Blue Angels, students first must meet grade requirements by AHSAA and Madison City Schools. Auditionees must show required skills and a dance incorporating jazz, pom and hip hop styles. Judges are outside individuals with thorough training and competition experience.

“The 21 Blue Angels are some of the hardest working, well-rounded, determined and kindest groups of girls that I’ve had the privilege to work with,” Courtney said.

“We’re so grateful for a community that supports our team. I’m so lucky to give back to students and a community I love and cherish. I also couldn’t do any of this without help of my assistant coach, Peyton James,” Courtney said.

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