Village News Correspondent
Fallbrook High School's Performance Dance team followed its first-place regional competition result with first place in the national competition.
"I'm really proud of them," Anna Haskell, dance program director at Fallbrook High School, said. "They've done an amazing job."
Haskell was raised in Encinitas and attended La Costa Canyon High School. She founded and coached the La Costa Canyon dance team as a volunteer. This is her fourth year teaching dance at Fallbrook High School.
"I'm happy to see the program grow," Haskell said.
Fallbrook's 2022-2023 dance team had 12 dancers. This year, the program has 25 members along with Haskell and assistant coach Alexis Coates. Students who take Performance Dance, including the International Baccalaureate option, receive both physical education credit and performing arts credit. Both programs are capstone courses for a career technical education pathway in arts, media and entertainment.
Seven schools including Fallbrook participated in the regional competition Saturday, Nov. 4, at Corona High School. Each team had a lyrical contemporary routine lasting approximately three minutes and a pom routine of approximately 2 1/2 minutes. Students also had the option of performing an individual routine, and five Fallbrook dance team members utilized that opportunity.
Fallbrook student captain Susana Urrutia, who is also one of the two International Baccalaureate students, choreographed the lyrical contemporary routine which used the 2020 Glass Animals song "It's All So Incredibly Loud." Haskell choreographed the pom routine which utilized a country-themed medley. Fallbrook placed first in both routines at the regionals as well as first overall.
All five Fallbrook students who performed solo dance routines placed. MaKenzie Fearno self-choreographed her routine which took first place for hip hop solo. The performance of Brookelyn Winship which was choreographed by Haskell took first place in the intermediate lyrical solo category and second place for overall lyrical solo.
Sadie Hubbard, whose routine was choreographed by Urrutia, placed first in intermediate contemporary solo and second in overall contemporary solo. Kiana Hart placed second in novice contemporary solo with a routine choreographed by Coates, who is a 2021 Fallbrook High School graduate.
Dacey Bender, who is the other International Baccalaureate student, placed first in intermediate jazz dance solo and third for overall dance solo with a routine Haskell choreographed.
"I'm really proud to see their workouts on the floor and happy that each one of them placed," Haskell said.
The solo competitions were at the regional level only. The national competition took place Saturday, Dec. 2, at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and had seven schools. Fallbrook did not change the team routine music from the regionals. The Fallbrook dancers took first for the pom routine and second for the lyrical contemporary performance. Fallbrook also received first overall.
The Fallbrook contingent went to the amusement park portion of Magic Mountain after the competition.
"Nationals was a really fun experience for the girls," Haskell said. "It was a good team building activity."
Fallbrook will next compete in the World Cup competition Jan. 14 in Hawaii. The group will leave Fallbrook Jan. 12, practice Jan. 13, and return home Jan. 15.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].