Smithtown West, Commack and Sachem North win national kickline titles.

Smithtown West, Commack and Sachem North win national kickline titles. Credit: handout

They were such a "Cinderella team" last year that Smithtown West's kickline squad even showed up to the dance dressed as Cinderella. Well, that theme probably wouldn't have been appropriate this year. After all, the Whisperettes moonwalked to a second straight national title.

Performing an elaborate dance number based on Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" music video, Smithtown West was dominant in capturing a second small-varsity crown at the National Dance Alliance championships in Orlando, Fla. on March 4. Their 9.685 score was the best among over 100 teams, including the larger groups.

Sachem North won its first NDA title in the small-varsity jazz division, and Commack, in the large-varsity bracket, captured its 14th kickline championship in 15 years.

"It was harder this year going in as defending champs because everyone knows you," said Smithtown West coach Tara Foglia, whose team also won an innovative choreography award. "This was really rewarding."

Last year the Whisperettes, in the underdog role, used a Cinderella-themed routine and won won their first championship.

Led by captains Angela Chiraz, Nicole Ginex, Jessica Cichy, and Christina Abrams this year, Smithtown West thrived despite incorporating nine new dancers out of 20. "The older girls were so good about welcoming everyone in," Foglia said.

The girls, clad in pinstriped vests and fedoras, pulled off the moves -- including the famous sideways lean -- and Chiraz capped the number with a moonwalk.

Sachem North's jazz championship was the program's first in any category, coach Katie Prusinski said.

The team, led by Francine LaCasse and Daniela Rodrigues, was seeded fourth after the preliminary round, but wowed the judges in the final with their performance to Vanessa Carlton's "White Houses."

"We can can dance; there's a lot of talent over here," Prucinski said of Sachem North, whose cheerleading team won nationals in February. "We take a lot of pride in being recognized nationally."

They also took second in the hip-hop and team performances, and sixth in pom.

For Commack, a longtime powerhouse, it's about maintaining the high standard. The Cougarettes did that, again, and this time with first-year coach Keira Keenan.

"What we've established is extremely tough to uphold," said Keenan, who was a Cougarette from 2000-2004. "It's a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the year, but it's all worth it."

Danielle Bradle, Valerie Reichert and Alisha Lautsch led Commack, which took first in large-varsity kickline, won its first medium-varsity jazz title, and took third in medium-varsity hip-hop. The jazz performance was to Christina Aguilera's "Glam."

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