MANATEE -- The Sugar 'Canes, the Manatee High School Dance Team, claimed the number 10 spot in the nation for the varsity high kick category at the Universal Dance Association National Dance Championship this past weekend.
The finals were held Sunday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Saturday, the team made the cut at the semi-finals at Disney Hollywood Studios, after competing in a flight with traditionally very strong teams.
The 21-member Sugar 'Cane Dance squad competing in the 2013 National Championship, under the direction of Amber Platowski, was led by captain Rachel Schmitt and co-captain Margarida Phelan.
Team members include Whitney Barnes, Holly Braxton, Cierra Cydrus, Brianna
DiTommaso, Julie Ann Galati, Amanda Grooms, Alyssa Kopinsky, Alessandra Krause, Elly Kretchman, Sarah Melancon, Alivia Murdoch, Marissa Pace, Rachel Rothfeld, Callee Sandberg, Allegra Smart, Sarah Smith, Lucie Walsh, Jennifer Walstad and Madeline Wasser.
Highlights of the championship will be on TV ESPN2 noon Feb. 24. The Sugar 'Canes will be performing their competition routine again at the local annual "Yes We Can Dance" on March 23, at Neel Performing Arts Hall, State College of Florida.
In other high school dance news, Braden River High School's The Black Pearls varsity team competed Sunday at the National Dance Alliance Sunshine Classic at the Lakeland Center, winning a first place in both jazz and hip hop.