WEATHERSFIELD - Members of the Mineral Ridge Dance Team will soon show their skills on national TV.
Leaving for Florida on Christmas day, seven Weathersfield teens will perform with other dance, drill and cheer teams at the Russell Athletic Bowl. The night before the game, they will march in the Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios.
Kickoff for the Russell Athletic Bowl is 6:45 p.m. Dec. 28 at Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, where the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals will face off. The teens will perform three professionally choreographed dance routines during halftime.
The Mineral Ridge Dance Team practices for its upcoming performance at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Front row, from left, are Taylor McKenney, 17; team captain Lexi Rhodes, 18; and Jessica Clark, 16. Back row, from left, are Kathie Morrone, 17; Riqui Stevens, 16; and Anna Bodo, 15. Not pictured is Andrea Maron, 15. Photo by R. Michael Semple
"We've been working on them. They have it nailed," dance team coach and advisor Shellie Rodriguez said.
One of the challenges they faced with the routines was having to learn the dances via video.
"It was difficult learning it from a computer instead of having somebody there physically teaching it to you," said Rodriguez, but added that they got the hang of it pretty quickly.
If you watch
WHAT: Russell Athletic Bowl
WHO: Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals
WHEN: Kickoff at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 28
WHERE: Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
The dance team will perform with nine other teams, and all of the routines will come together as one big performance.
Rodriguez said the girls are excited about the trip and are looking forward to meeting dance teams from across the country.
"They love the dances, they love the costumes, and just knowing that they're going to meet people from all over," she said. "It'll be nice to get away from this cold weather, too. That's another thing that they're looking forward to, getting some sunshine."
Rodriguez said she can't wait to see the team perform.
"I'm proud of how hard they worked all year to get to this. I can't wait to actually see them perform on the field; I'll be excited to watch it all come together for them. They're a really good group of girls," she said.
Mineral Ridge Dance Team members performing in Florida are Andrea Maron, 15; Taylor McKenney, 17; captain Lexi Rhodes, 18; Jessica Clark, 16; Kathie Morrone, 17; Riqui Stevens, 16; and Anna Bodo, 15.
In order to pay for the trip, the teens held fundraisers all year, raising more than $12,000, Rodriguez said. Some of the girls' parents also contributed, and thanks to numerous donations and a lot of community support, she said even the girls' meals will be paid for.
Rodriguez said the airline tickets were especially expensive because they depart on Christmas day and return on New Year's Day.
Donations were made by Kenilworth Steel in Warren, Kleese Development Association and the Mineral Ridge Band Boosters, as well as Pizza Joe's in Mineral Ridge and Badurick's Butcher Block. Many items were purchased by members of the community, and the girls also held several casino trip fundraisers.
The Dec. 28 performance will be aired on ESPN.