Kelly Greens host annual dance festival
FARMINGTON – Dancers and spectators packed the Farmington Civic Center on Saturday during the annual Four Corners Dance Festival, hosted by Farmington High School's Kelly Greens.
The festival not only pitted high school teams against each other, it also included dance studios and academies from as far away as Los Lunas.
Dancers ranging from young children to college students performed in front of a panel of judges.
Vicki Campbell, the Kelly Greens coach, said she started the festival six years ago after noticing the lack of local competitions. Students from many local dance studios travel to Albuquerque or Denver to compete.
The dancers compete in various categories and are judged based on category. In some categories, such as the college categories, there was only a single entry. Fort Lewis College was the only college to compete, which meant its dancers automatically won in their categories.
However, even when the victory was guaranteed to a single competitor, the festival could provide a learning experience.
"Everyone's learning how to be a better dancer by getting a professional judge critique," Campbell said.
The categories included jazz, hip hop, solos, trios and duets.
The Kelly Greens use the festival as preparation for the National Dance Association National Competition in Orlando, Fla. The team will be take the same routines it performed on Saturday to the competition later this month.
"It's like a dress rehearsal," said Keana Dart, a senior at Farmington High School, prior to the team performing its pom routine on Saturday.
Dart said the Kelly Greens are generally stronger in the pom category than the hip hop category, which they also competed in on Saturday and will be competing in at nationals.
Dart began dancing when she was 3 years old at Danz Force, now known as The Force, located on Browning Parkway in Farmington.
On Saturday, she had the chance to see the academy's current dancers perform. Many of students who attend The Force are hoping to continue dancing in high school.
"It's just a really good feeder program," Dart said.
While the same teams tend to come back each year, another team joined this year's festival — a group of from the newly formed Bloomfield High School Royals dance team that performed under the name the Bloomfield Dance Cats, an academy owned by their coach, Crystal Fieldsted.
It has been years since Bloomfield had a dance team, and the new squad was set up as a noncompetition team. Although the team cannot compete at state, its members are happy just to have the opportunity to dance while in high school.
"I've been trying to get (a dance team) all of my high school years," said Mariah Liese, a senior at Bloomfield High School.
On Friday night, the team had to redo its entire routine after one of its seven members broke her ankle.
"We had to change all the formations," Fieldsted said.
After four hours of practice in the new formations, the girls walked onto stage to perform their three routines — prop, hip hop and kick — and the dancers said they felt confident in their performance at the end of the day.
Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.