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The new St. Joseph's Academy Red Steppers include, first row from left,  Aldyn Gremillion, Claire Marie Tate, Sophia Stuart, Lilly Chastin, Camille Nyboer and Ryn Lakvold; middle row, Virginia Smith, Sarah Branstetter, Samantha Bass, Hailey Griggs, Charlotte Fuller, Sara Manning Miller, Clare Dillman and Elizabeth Lemann; and  top row, Liza White, Madison Morel, Ellie Prados, Isabella Naquin, Ryleigh Allen, Evelyn Carley, Amelia Bradford, Avery Watts and Isabella Grier. Not pictured is member Shelby Bordelon.

St. Joseph’s Academy has established its first competitive dance team, the Red Steppers.

The 24-member group, under the direction of SJA dance teacher Jade McCune, will promote school spirit and support athletic events both on and off campus, said Mindy Broadhead Averitt, the school communications director. The team will also compete regionally and nationally.

“When I started teaching dance at St. Joseph’s, I immediately was in awe of the talent,” McCune said. “I knew the idea of starting a competitive dance team had been in discussion, but the timing never worked out. After praying about it, God made it very apparent that this was a journey He wanted me to lead. The administration was amazing and supportive. We believe in the girls and want to help give them an opportunity to showcase their talent and passion. I am extremely excited to see the journey God has planned for our team.”

Junior Shelby Bordelon has been part of the competitive dance team at Center Stage Performing Arts Academy for 11 years. She said she was thrilled to learn a dance team had been formed at SJA. “It’s so awesome, and I thought it was such a great opportunity,” she said. “In 50 years when we’re celebrating 200 years of SJA, I can say I was a part of the very first dance team. I am looking forward to an amazing year of becoming close to my team, going to UDA camp, possibly competing at nationals and performing for SJA at pep rallies. I am so excited to be a part of this team, and I know it’s going to be great. I am so beyond blessed by the opportunity.”

Sophomore Sarah Branstetter started taking dance classes when she was 4. She’s been studying at Revolution Dance Company since she was 9 and was part of the CHS Bruinettes as a freshman and sophomore. “I wanted to be part of this team because I thought it would be an awesome way to support our school while also doing something I love: dance,” she said. “I am looking forward to getting close to everyone on the team, competing at UDA competitions and dancing at pep rallies. I think it is going to be so much fun, and I am so honored to be able to be a part of SJA’s first dance team ever.”

Junior Lilly Chastain has trained with Machita Dance Company since she was 2 years old. She’s also taken dance classes at SJA. “I am so excited to join the Red Steppers for its first year,” she said. “When I first heard about it, I knew it would be a great opportunity to support my school and share my love for dance. There are so many talented dancers at SJA, and I cannot wait to see what happens when we come together. I am so excited for this year, and I cannot wait for the Red Stepper season to begin.”