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Liberty Lionettes awarded in hip-hop, pom at regionals

MADISON – The Liberty Lionettes Dance Team impressed their peers, along with the judges, at the Bama Regional Competition in Hoover, an event affiliated with National Dance Alliance or NDA.

At the meet, dancers from numerous schools across the Southeast performed more than 70 routines. The Lionettes competed in hip-hop and claimed second place; their pom routine delivered a first-place win.

Liberty Lionettes include seventh-grader Amiyah Cartwright and eighth-graders Gabby Cole, Charlotte Davidson, Captain Addison Hankins, Brielle Hicks, Ellie Sandritter and Lily Seay.

“Our hip-hop routine is a mix of songs by various artists. The girls do a flip stunt, headsprings, kip-up (or rising handspring) and aerial cartwheels,” Courtney Hooper Kelley said. Kelley coaches the Lionettes and teaches theatre and elective courses at Liberty.

“Our pom routine is a mix of songs by Britney Spears. The choreography contains pirouettes, jumps, leaps, turns and other tricks,” Kelley said.

The team hires a choreographer, Sarah Lash with Southern Sensations Dance Studio, to create their routines. “Sarah Lash teaches the routines to the girls. We practice the routines for months before we compete,” Kelley said.

Kelley is in her third year of coaching the Lionettes. “I love it so much. I started coaching during the 2020-2021 school year – the height of the pandemic. My administration and coworkers have been so supportive and helpful as I’ve learned how to coach,” she said.

Growing up, Kelley was a dancer, so coaching brings back many great memories. “My team is full of some really amazing young ladies. They are incredibly driven and work very hard,” Kelley said.

“I just try to push them to improve and be the best versions of themselves. Unlike other sports, we don’t have much of an off season,” Kelley said. “We’ll compete at nationals in March, then choose next year’s team in April, and the season starts all over again.”

In addition, all of the Lionettes dance at a studio. “As their coach, I’m proud of their and their parents’ dedication and sacrifice,” Kelley said.

In other activities, the Lionettes dance on the sidelines and at halftime for football, basketball halftimes, Veterans Day ceremony, pep rallies, faculty/student basketball game and sixth-grade orientation.

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