The Wylie Varsity Belles know that being a relatively new extra curricular program makes competing against more established schools difficult.
What they didn’t know was that they would win their first ever Grand Champion award in just their 7th year of existence.
But that is exactly what Wylie’s dance team did this spring. The girls won Grand Champion honors at the Showtime International’s “Dallas Dance Spectacular.”
“It was a really big deal,” said Belles Captain Laurol Lemke, a Wylie senior. “Getting grand champion was something I never thought I would get to participate in. That was really, really cool.”
The Belles dominated at the competition. They took four team routines, two officer routines, 11 solos and 1 duet to the competition and brought home five first place awards plus Team Sweepstakes, Team Judges Award and the overall Grand Champion award. In addition, all 11 soloists and the duet team earned Division 1 ratings.
Laurol also was a solo finalist and won overall 1st place runner up with a dance she choreographed herself.
“To see my choreography ended up getting me solo runner up was really cool,” she said. “It was crazy.”
Laurol also choreographed several of the team routines, each of which won a Division 1 rating. She said doing some choreography has been fun, especially her own solo.
“I know what my personal strengthens and weaknesses are,” she said. “It came natural to choreograph it myself.”
She said the team’s philosophy has been to do a little better each year as the program grows. The girls have been able to do that consistently since the program started in 20111, but in the last few years especially, the program has been growing by leaps and bounds.
In fact, in addition to the Varsity Belles and the Junior High’s Junior Belles, the program will add a JV team next year.
“It will allow the team to grow and will allow younger students to transition into varsity,” said director Lindi Connally, who also owns her own studio, Sonripened Steps.
Laurol, who wants to be a nurse, will work at Sonripened Steps next year while attending Cisco Junior College.
“I love, love teaching people,” she said. “I never thought teaching was going to be part of my future. I find of like the thought of doing it as a side job.”
Laurol said she is amazed at how much better the Belles have become since she first started in 8th grade.
“Each year we do better and better,” she said. “It’s grown tremendously. It is very rewarding.”
At the competition, the Belles won 1st Place Team Pom, 1st Place Team Military; 1st place team Hip Hop and 1st place team novelty.
In addition, the officers did two routines and won 1st place with a Jazz Routine and 2nd with a Contemporary Routine.
Belles who performed solos were: Laurol Lemke, Alyssa Lemke, Madison Williams, McKinley Alvarado, Bridget Clem, Alize’ Curry, Angelica Rosas, Aymie Jordan, Kyleigh Olson, Bailee Guiterrez and Katrin Pyeatt.
The duet was performed by Holy Aston and Ashlyn Lovett.
Madison Williams was a Kick Master finalist.
Belles officers are Captain Laurol Lemke, Lieutenant Alyssa Lemke, Lieutenant Madison Williams, President Clare McDowell, Vice President Katye Phillips, and Managers Madison Truax and Kylie Price.
Team Members are McKinley Alvarado, Holly Aston, Brooke Brent, Bridget Clem, Alize’ Curry, Bailee Gutierrez, Aymie Jordan, Ashlyln Lovett, Kyleigh Olson, Katrin Pyeatt and Angelica Rosas.
The team will be performing a Spring Show on April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Wylie Performing Arts Center.