May 26 • 11:25 PM

Almont Dance team brings home trophies from the NDA Nationals

Girls compete in three events, runners-up in one

Almont’s Dance team consists of front (L to R) Marissa Sheffield, Rachel Bonello, Jillian Zygmontowicz and Lauren Williams; and back Jelena Rosenberg, Lindsay Johnson, Samantha Jakubik, Emily Bonello, Aubre Grimaldi and coach Ann Hunter.

March 24, 2010
ALMONT — The Almont Dance team garnered three trophy-winning performances at the National Dance Alliance National Dance Championships contested recently.

The two-day event unfolded March 6-7 in Orlando, Florida.

The Hard Rock Hotel hosted the competition which attracted 81 total teams representing 21 different states.

"Going into the nationals we weren't sure what to expect," Almont Dance team coach Ann Hunter said. "Our team had a good week of practice leading up to the event and hoped that it would carry over to the competition," she noted.

"The girls came through with several outstanding performances. I was proud of what they were able to accomplish."

At nationals, Almont competed in the Small Varsity Division for Hip Hop, Pom and Jazz.

The prelims were held Saturday where Almont advanced all three of their routines to the finals which were performed on Sunday.

Almont's top finish came in the Small Varsity Hip Hop event where it took second out of 11 teams.

The routine, which also received the Technical Excellence Award, was choreographed by Rachel Bonello.

Almont's next best showing came in the Small Varsity Pom division where it pulled up fifth among 15 entries.

Lauren Williams and Jillian Zygmontowicz choreographed that routine.

Almont also ranked 12th out of 21 entries as far as the Small Varsity Jazz competition was concerned.

Marissa Sheffield choreographed that routine.

Almont Dance team members Rachel Bonello and Lauren Williams described performing at nationals as an event that they aren't likely to forget.

"Coming from a small town going to nationals was an accomplishment in itself let alone doing so well," Rachel said. "It was the perfect way to end the season," she noted.

"I think the whole team would agree that it was an experience we will keep with us forever."

Williams echoed her sentiments.

"Nationals was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me," Lauren said. "It was amazing to be able to spend it with my best friends," she noted.

"To take on such a challenge and succeed was such a great feeling. Plus the weather was huge bonus."

Lindsay Johnson, Emily Bonello, Samantha Jakubik Aubre Grimaldi and Jelena Rosenberg joined Rachel Bonello, Lauren Williams, Jillian Zygmontowicz and Marissa Sheffield on Almont's squad at the NDA Nationals.

If you would like to watch the Almont Dance team's performances at the nationals online please visit Varsity TV at

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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