College Dance Team Central

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

SLU Dance Team Earns TV Spot



Lionettes earn two top awards

By LAURIE SMITH ANDERSON

The Advocate

Published: Feb 8, 2006

HAMMOND — Pretty in pink, members of the Lionettes, Southeastern Louisiana University’s dance team, danced their way to bring home two top awards from the 2006 College Dance Team Championship held in Orlando, Fla., last month.

“My girls are very girly, so we chose a girls’ theme and wore pink for the hip hop number, which was choreographed by team captain Kandace Kurtz (of Mandeville) and co-captain Stephanie Sims (of Baton Rouge),” said director Christen Anzalone.

Competing against 28 teams in Division I of the annual Universal Dance Association national competition, the Lionettes won second place in the hip hop division and third in the jazz division. The team’s jazz dance was choreographed to Melissa Etheridge’s “Brave and Crazy.”

As one of the top three finishers in both divisions, the Southeastern dancers will appear on the national sports network ESPN sometime later this year, probably in March, Anzalone said. A film clip from the competition will air, along with interviews with several of the girls.

“It was the happiest day of my life, other than giving birth to my children,” the director said about her team’s victories. “To place in the top three teams in both categories is incredible. The girls were so excited, you would have thought they won first place.”

She credited the team’s success to its hard work and the leadership, coaching and motivation provided by Kurtz and Sims.

“It takes much dedication and love for dance to devote so much time to this sport. I am so proud of the team,” she said.

The Lionettes dance at all of Southeastern’s football games and men’s and women’s basketball games, and perform at various community events. They practice six to 10 hours a week and perform an average of three times a week this time of year. They even worked through Christmas break to prepare for the College Dance Team Championship.

Most of the girls have previous dance experience and do it just for fun, Anzalone said. A few, however, aspire to dance professionally and a couple of former Lionettes now dance for the New Orleans Hornets’ Honeybee Dance Team and the New Orleans Saints’ Saintsations Dance Team.

To qualify for the national competition, teams each submitted an unedited video of dance routines that was judged on projection, choreography, technique, group execution and overall effect. Anzalone said the Lionettes placed third out of 27 teams in the initial bid ranking.

In addition to Kurtz and Sims, the Lionettes who brought home the national honors are Sarah Bates and Lisa Martinez, both of Denham Springs; Amanda Bazile, Chalmette; Heather Crowe, Amite; Katherine D’Antonio, Kenner; Kim Dottolo, Ponchatoula; Robin Fernandez, Chalmette; Danielle Mistric, Baton Rouge; Brittani Noland, Belle Chasse; and Amanda Patanella, Independence.

Anzalone encouraged students interested in becoming Lionettes to contact her at (985) 549-3654 or e-mail canzalone@selu.edu.

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