Bronco Belles excel at nationals _lowres

Photo provided by Melanie Anderson -- Zachary High School’s Bronco Belles dance team finished seventh in medium hip hop and 11th in varsity high kick at the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Championships held Jan. 29-31 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Belles, front row, from left, are Morgan Mazzarella, Katlyn Daigle, captain Jasmine Kinchen, co-captain Jordyn Celestin and Jacelyn Rasti; middle row, Destiny Henderson, Racquel Jiles, Mekiah Wells, Cortisha Fisher, Hannah Borg, Madison Harris and Pashen Barrow; and back row, Laureal Richard, Kamryn Stewart, Maya Lawrence, Kaitlyn Alsander, Courtney Baker, Charlyse Scott, Kaleigh Hutchinson, Mahogany Thomas, Kendal Kelley and coach and sponsor, Melanie Anderson. Not shown is sponsor Kaitlyn Courville.

For the first time in the history of Zachary High School, the Bronco Belles dance squad advanced to the final round of competition in both categories at the Universal Dance Association’s National Dance Team Championship held Jan. 29-31 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

“We had a very successful run,” coach Melanie Anderson said.

The Belles placed seventh in the medium varsity hip-hop category and 11th in varsity high kick.

The hip-hop category has three divisions, depending on the number of dancers per team. The medium division is for squads with 13 to 16 dancers, small squads have 12 members or less while the large division includes 17 or more dancers.

“The medium level is one of the most difficult divisions to compete in, since it has the most teams to beat,” Anderson said. “It’s a very disciplined division.”

Hip-hop routines earn points for strength of movement, choreography, execution of skills and difficulty of movement.

In the high-kick contest, dancers are judged on execution of kicks and skills, projection, choreography, strength of movement, as well as other aspects.

The national championship draws hundreds of dance teams from around the U.S. that have qualified after strong performances at local competitions or camp.

Anderson, who is in her eighth year coaching the Belles, took Zachary High to the nationals for the first time in 2010.

Tryouts for the award-winning Bronco Belles are scheduled for March 16-18, and anyone interested in auditioning should email melanie.anderson@zacharyschools.org.