For years they were the girls in the spandex and sequins who shook their collective booty during halftime at high school football and basketball games. Four years ago, they became something else.
Now they're winners, multiplied by one million dollars.
The West Springfield Dance Team, 16 kids representing my high school in suburban DC, made it out of the Wild Card Round on "America's Got Talent" Wednesday night. They're going to the semifinals next week, with a chance at one million bucks and a spot as Las Vegas headliners, because, I reckon, they won America's hearts.
Kudos go to these spunky gals and guys, who are willing to work four hours every afternoon after school to perfect their craft. And props, as well, to the coaches/choreographers, Tara Perez and Jason King, who have transformed this troupe from a gaggle of dancer-wannabes into a seriously scary ensemble.
Three team members were in my classes this year. They do "The Matrix," with full trenchcoat regalia, to a "T." That routine won them the NDA National Championship two years in a row. Although "AGT" judge Sharon Osbourne dubs them winners for their "drama," their style is basically from the hip-hop end of the dance spectrum. These kids work hard to be out there, pushing the envelope, and they were rewarded Wednesday for their efforts.
The snap above, shot during a basketball halftime performance, shows just part of the team, but points up both their drama and their skill. I'm amazed, and proud, all at once. All hail to the West Springfield Dance Team.
I have only one question: If "America's Got Talent" coincides with the start of school, just where will you be, kiddos?