WLC dances to New England championship

WILTON – Wilton-Lyndebor­ough Cooperative is now home to the New England dance champions.

The school dance team re­turned Sunday from the New England Dance Competition at Westfield State University in Massachusetts with two champi­onships: eighth-grader Rebecca "Becca" Hadley in solo dance and the team as a whole.

They had earlier won the Em­manuel College Dance Competi­tion to advance to the champion­ship.

This year was Becca’s first with the team, which was found­ed in 1998.

"Was I scared?" Becca asked. "Yeah. It was very nerve-wrack­ing."

It was also a lot of work.

"I went over the solo over and over whenever I had spare time," Becca said. "I ran the steps through my head. When we got (to the competition), we were allowed to practice so we knew our squares, and then people came in and watched and it was really nerve-wracking."

But once they started, all that disappeared.

Becca described the dance as "lyrical," which combines sev­eral dance forms from ballet to acrobatic. Her solo included cartwheels and several jazz sec­tions.

"It all depends on the music so we end up in the right place on the last note," Becca said.

Each routine had a list of re­quired elements, and the team was rated on them. Other mem­bers of the team are eighth-grad­ers Amber Silk, Erin Shephard, Lylli Pineault and Mishell Pfeil. Melodie Jones is the coach.

In the championship, Becca earned 75 points out of a pos­sible 100, and the team had 73.3 points.

In the preliminary round, Becca earned an overall score of 236.5 out of 300. The team’s duet finished third in the preliminar­ies and did not advance.

Eighth-grader Elizabeth Hil­ton-Trask, the team’s manager, helps with costumes and make­up, and making sure everyone is doing well. She is the oldest of the group, but not by much.

"Sometimes I feel like a coun­selor," she said. "We’re all fam­ily."

On the team, timing is neces­sary.

"We have to trust each other on the turns," Becca said. "There is a lot of communication. We all depend on each other."

She said she planned to con­tinue with dance.

"If we’re together next year, we’ll be a lot more experi­enced," Becca said.

In the meantime, there are two new trophies to savor.