Two Northumberland High School freshmen made national marks for themselves New Year’s Day; but, they did it in Rome, Italy not anywhere close to home.
Abby Jennings and Corrie Minor won spots on Varsity Spirits Rome tour in which more than 300 dancers from around the United States danced in Rome’s New Year’s Day parade. They were two of four girls selected from Virginia. The other two were from Northern Virginia. Abby and Corrie are also remarkable since they were among the extremely few freshmen who made the squad.
Participants in the tour are picked from the ranks of All-Americans selected by the three national dance associations. Abby and Corrie were picked by Universal Dance Association after performing at a camp it conducted at Northumberland High School in August. The dance team’s coach, Laura Raciborski, arranged for the local camp. Other participants attended camps for many girls organized by the associations.
While dancers may dance in classic forms, the dance team does dances using pom-poms. Abby and Corrie had to learn a routine provided by the association and design an eight step routine of their own for the competition.
The trip to Rome was six days long and culminated in a mile and a half parade starting at the Piazza del Popolo and winding its way back to the Piazza. During the parade, the dancers performed their routine 10 times, the girls said in an interview Friday.
Abby and Corrie have been friends since Kindergarten, they noted and they have danced together all that time although Corrie backed off from formal dancing for awhile and, while she loves it, doesn’t plan on making a living at it. Abby, on the other hand, says “I’d like to do something with dance.”
During their stay in Italy, the girls saw the sights in Rome and traveled to Florence to see that city, too. They agreed that the Sistine Chapel was the most memorable thing they saw. “It was incredible,” Abby said.
Abby’s parents are Larry and Michelle Jennings. Corrie’s are Steve Minor and Kelly Lewis.
The girls met dancers from all over the country and concluded, “Everybody is just like us.”
Michelle Jennings noted how deeply appreciative the families are for the community support that made the trip possible.
As for the girls, they’d like to dance in another News Year’s Day parade but aren’t aiming for one so far away next year. They have their eyes on the Macy’s parade in New York City.