CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Lancer Dancers knocked them out at this year’s National Championship in Hip Hop and win Bronze Medal in Jazz at Disney World Feb. 5 and Feb. 6. More than 600 high school teams from around the country qualified to compete in front of over 10,000 spectators at a nationally televised competition on ESPN.
The road to nationals for these teams is one that takes many years of training. Most Lancer Dancers have been taking lessons before they started kindergarten. The hard work and training are just part of the equation. It also takes a lot fundraising to pay for the costs of travel, competition, costumes, and choreography.
“We couldn’t do this without the support of the community, they have been wonderful and we dedicate this victory to them,” Coach Laura Nares said,
The road to the national championships was complicated by the monster storm that crippled air travel. The Lancer Dancer’s early morning flight on Thursday was cancelled, and the team was told they wouldn’t be able to get another flight for their large group until just hours before the competition would start. Everyone scrambled and the team ended up having to change airlines and carpool up to Orange County in order to get a flight late on Thursday. Due to so many flight cancellations, the flights that could get out were so full, the team’s carry on bags with their costumes in them had to be checked in. “The storm was a nightmare,” Captain Lani Yamanaka said. “We didn’t know if we would make it in time for the competition or if our costumes would get lost. I was thinking we might be competing in what we had on at the airport.”
This year’s championship team started the year as a Cinderella Story. Coach Laura Nares was hired the week before tryouts and of the 12-member team, eight girls were brand new, five of whom are freshman.
“Only one of us on the entire team has more than a year of experience on Lancer Dancers,” Lancer Dancer Keara Veran said.
Without much rest, the Lancer Dancers finally arrived in Orlando, rallied and got to work. The team competed in two categories: Varsity Jazz and Hip Hop. Its Jazz number won their division and advanced directly into the finals, skipping semi-finals. In Hip Hop, again the team advanced directly into the finals after winning their division.
“When we walked off that stage we knew we had given it our all and left nothing back,” Camille Posard said. “We were all crying we were so proud we did our best, hours before the results. The Championship White Jacket and medals were just the sprinkles on top.”