Dancers earn top prize at districts

Camas hopes to make a strong impression at state competition

After fluctuating between first and second place in competitions this season, 14 Papermakers danced the night away with the district title.

“We were anticipating that top prize,” said senior co-captain Dahlia Vu. “It’s been back and forth all season long. Getting first at district cements all of that effort we put into this. We hope it reflects well on the school.”

Camas finished in first place in the lyrical dance category and second place in hip-hop Saturday, at Skyview High School. The Papermakers will perform both routines at the state dance and drill competition March 27 and 28, at the Yakima Sun Dome.

“Our style is a lot different than other schools,” said senior co-captain Veronica Mercado. “It’s about girl power. Our moves reflect that.”

Mercado and Vu developed both routines with coaches Lesa Hackworth and Greta Laurine. Alexis Stanton, Alisha Heilman, Asia Fearrington, Kassidy Renfroe, Kayleigh Petit de Lueb, Lindsey Kosaki, Lucinda Zhang, Maddie Bertalot, Rachel Liu, Sylvia Cochrane, Talia Sampson and Ursula Hood round out the team.

Vu leads the lyrical performance, while Mercado is the centerpiece of the hip-hop routine.

“It reflects our personalities,” Mercado said. “We focus a lot of attention on our facials, movements and attitude. We want it to be powerful.”

“Our dance routine is very emotional,” Vu said. “We work on telling a story. It’s very sad. We want to bring the audience to tears.”

The Papermakers are also trying to impress the judges. Only the top five teams earn state trophies. Camas is working harder than ever to bring home one of those elusive rewards.

“I don’t think we have ever been this close to placing before. All of us are really proud,” Vu said. “Our goal is to put everything we have into these final performances. Sometimes it’s hard to get recognition for what we do. When you show heart and passion like we have, the school will care too.”

This will be the last dance for Vu and Mercado. They hope Camas will continue to make a name at the district and state levels.

“Compared to my first year on this team, we’ve improved so much that it’s unbelievable,” Mercado said. “We used to be lucky just to get to state. Winning districts shows how far we have come. It’s a good way to end my senior year.”