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The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Lancer Dancers leap to the top of New England competition

The Lancer Dancers proudly hold their trophy after winning both of the categories they competed in. (Photo used with permission by Liv Labranche).

The moderator of the competition started announcing the places. As he revealed fifth place, fourth place, and third place, the Lancer Dancers sat in a circle holding hands, as they hadn’t heard their name called yet.

When he announced that second place was a tie and neither of the teams announced were the Londonderry Lancers, the girls realized they had won. He announced the Londonderry Lancer Dancers as the first place Varsity champions. The team leapt up and started jumping around with excitement as the crowd went wild. 

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the Lancer Dancers competed in the New England Cheer and Dance Competition. They competed alongside approximately 140 teams and placed first in both the “pom” and jazz categories. 

“It was definitely one of the best moments ever,” senior and team Co-Captain Graycie Farnsworth said. “Our wins showed that we put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get us the well deserved first place award. Everyone was so proud.”

Last year, the team placed first in the jazz category and fifth in the pom category. This year, the team knew they ‘wanted to work hard’ in hopes of placing higher in the pom category according to Farnsworth.

“[The pom] style has lots of fast arm movements which is difficult to master, but as one of the only schools in New Hampshire that does pom, I would say we are very good,” Farnsworth said. “We truly didn’t know how well we were going to do, but we were going to be happy no matter what place we got.”

Though they were “confident in their routine,” the team was ‘nervous’ when getting ready to compete and watching the teams they were up against. 

“Not going to  lie, I was definitely nervous going into competition which isn’t unusual for athletes,” Farnsworth said. “The other schools that we competed against [this year] were super talented, but after we competed, my nerves turned into confidence that we were going to do well.”

Along with Farnsworth, senior and Co-Captain Liv LaBranche felt nerves getting ready to compete, but they were suppressed by her excitement. 

Senior Co-Captains Graycie Farnsworth and Liv LaBranche hold their trophies proudly after placing first in both of the categories the Lancer Dancers were entered in. (Photo used with permission by Liv LaBranche).

“We were all pretty nervous because for some on the team this was their first competition,” LaBranche said. “However, I was excited because we only got one competition so I wanted to make the most of it.”

When the team was announced as the winners of both  categories they competed in, LaBranche “couldn’t believe it.”

“I am so proud of this team,” LaBranche said. “We’ve come so far and our year has been so great.”

The team learned their two dances back in August before school started. They had guest choreographers, Hayley Peters and Megan Soucy, choreograph their routines in two four-hour practice sessions. As captains, Farnsworth and LaBranche were in charge of rehearsing the routines during practices leading up to the competition. The team practices once a week after school along with scattered three-hour Sunday practices. 

Farnsworth has been on the team since her freshman year and has been preparing for her leadership role by watching the captains throughout her years on the team. She describes being a captain as “one of the best things” in her life. 

“I’m so grateful to be able to have this opportunity,” Farnsworth said. “I have gained confidence, passion, and many other qualities from being captain. I love being able to work alongside [LaBranche] to make the team the best it can be.”  

Being a captain of this team has been the “most incredible experience” for LaBranche.

“I love the girls on the team, they’re like family,” LaBranche said. “Being in this leadership role has helped me grow not only as a dancer but as a person as well.”

As well as LaBranche, junior team member Katie Croteau also considers this team her family and ‘a great group of girls to be around.’

“This team means so much to me,” Croteau said. “You get to hang out with other dancers in the school that either go to different studios or you just never see. We have so much fun and we have so many jokes and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to have that.”

Croteau was “so hyped” after the team won, and she  and the rest of the team ‘felt very accomplished.’

“Before we performed, [Cara Bound, the team’s Co-Adviser] told us ‘don’t think that this is just like a fun thing, you guys look really good, we can totally win,’” Croteau said. “Her saying that definitely gave us a confidence boost, so when we won both categories it was just awesome.”

Bound thought the team did ‘the best that she had ever seen from them,’ which led her and her Co-Adviser Abigail Borroto to be “thrilled” when the team won.

“They announce from last place up to first place and when we weren’t called until first, I was so excited,” Bound said. “I think [Borroto] and I were jumping up and down in the bleachers.”

Bound believes the most important part of having a “cohesive team” is team bonding.

“Dancers need to be aware of space and those around them and need to have an understanding of one another without speaking,” Bound said. “That type of bond doesn’t happen without building trust and friendship first.”

Since their season starts up right away with a halftime performance at the football team’s first home game, Bound and the team see the importance of hanging out outside of their practices so the team members can get to know each other.

“Team bonding is one of our biggest priorities on the Dance Team,” Farnsworth said. “When we all feel loved by one another, it makes practice, competition, and performances so much more fun.”

The girls try to have a sleepover before the school year starts to bond and get ready for their performances. Without a bonded team, it is ‘hard to have a team that dances as one’ according to Farnsworth.

“When teams are bonded you can feel an energy when you’re dancing,” Farnsworth said. “It’s so special and it’s my favorite thing about dance.”

Since this is the only competition that the team will compete in this year, the team now looks forward to their upcoming performances at the Winter Pep Rally and their Day of Giving performance. 

“The competition is the hardest and most stressful event we prepare for,” Bound said. “Everything else now is just fun.”

The team will also perform at the Spring Pep Rally, Little Lancer Day, and Step Up Day. Bound and the rest of the team are “looking forward” to showing off the routines they’ve prepared, and encourage students to audition for the team next year if they’re interested in dance.

“Auditions for next season will be at the end of the school year in June,” Bound said. “If you’re interested in joining us, please check it out.”

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About the Contributor
Kelly Egan, Editor-in-Chief
This is Kelly's second year on the editorial board. As well as being Editor-in-Chief, she is heavily involved in the music department here at LHS. She is in the chamber choir and the drama club. She also does theatre year-round outside of school. She loves being on staff and has been writing since elementary school.

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