News Post

Red Steppers Excel in Regionals

The St. Joseph’s Academy Red Steppers competed in the Universal Dance Association (UDA) Regional competition, held January 8 in Hammond. In the Large Varsity division, the team placed second in the jazz category and first in game day. The Red Steppers will compete in the UDA National Dance Team Championship February 4-6 at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Moderator Shelly O’Dowd expressed her tremendous pride in the team. “They always have the best attitude, motivating each other during long practices, overcoming injuries and making adjustments to the dances,” she said. “They’ve put in countless hours of work to prepare for the regional competition. Red Stepper alum and last year’s captain, Hailey Griggs, is working with the team this year and was influential in the team’s success at Regionals. She is a great leader and brings such a positive energy to the team.”

Senior Madison Morel said months of practice and hard work paid off. “I loved that every member of the team was dedicated to doing our best and showed everyone how talented this group of girls is,” she said. “We are truly passionate about putting emotion into our routines and working together to make sure the routine is clean. I am looking forward to making our dances even better for Nationals to represent SJA well and hopefully come back with another white jacket.”

Junior Ella Dupre said that in addition to performing well, the team bonded. “We made many new memories,” she said. “My favorite part was eating the lunch our amazing parents provided for us at our tailgate while dancing and singing to the music we had on the speaker playing outside. As for Nationals, I am thrilled to just get back on the dance mat and walk through the castle. Nothing beats that feeling.” 

As a first-year member of the Red Steppers, freshman Laney LeBoeuf said she thoroughly enjoys being part of the team. “We have a special connection,” she said. “Practices are hard and long, but we get each other through it and enjoy them. Before we go on, we circle up and say a prayer. We remind each other why we love what we do, why we love this team and who we are doing this for. It gives us an energy on the mat that is unexplainable. All I know is it feels amazing. 

“I am beyond excited for Nationals,” LeBouef added. “I am excited to run out of that castle with the people I love most, doing the thing that my fills my heart.” 

Junior Ella Fife said she looks forward to building on the momentum from the regional competition. “I am so beyond proud of this team and how well we worked together on our final days before Regionals,” she said. “We put our all into each performance and competed to the best of our ability to take home first- and second-place trophies. I enjoyed how the competition allowed for us to take time as a team to go over the dances but also spend time with our families who came out to watch us. I am looking forward to taking our critiques from the regional judges and applying them so that we can go into Nationals with confidence in our dances.”

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director

Photos courtesy of Glenn Eymard Photography, Mandy Grier, Madison Morel and Shelly O'Dowd