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The Napa High School spiritleaders, who have won an unprecedented 37 national dance championships, were invited to perform before a Sacramento Kings’ home game against the Dallas Mavericks at Golden 1 Center on Feb. 3.

Dance teams must be invited or send in an audition routine to be selected. The spiritleaders – represented by Janice Blatteis, Bella Buhman, Viviana Ceja, Shelby Edmeyer, Monse Garcia, Sarah Guinn, Graciana Hardwick, Britney Johlfs, Jamie Jory, Brooke Knauer, Emma Lloyd, Kimberly Melgoza, Kim Moreno, Camryn Nuuhiwa, Ingrid Ortega, MaKenzie Payne and Maggie Robertson – performed their competition jazz routine “Sing, Sing, Sing” to an enthusiastic crowd at the downtown facility.

Many former spiritleaders have gone on to become professional Kings dancers, including Katerina Kountouris for five years. The 2009 Napa High graduate is now the Kings’ official emcee during the games, interacting with the crowd.

“It was a thrill for my dancers to see a former Napa spiritleader who went on to have such great success with the Kings’ organization,” said spiritleaders head coach Hollie Schmidt. “Since so many of my dancers have the desire to pursue dancing past high school, either in a college dance department as a dance major, or to audition for a college dance team or to audition for a professional NFL or NBA dance team, I wanted to give them exposure right away in that environment.

“I was fortunate myself to be selected to perform at a Kings game with my professional dance company when I was in my 20s, so it was really fun to see a full circle – to have myself perform there, to have my alumni be a part of their team, and have my current team perform there.”

Spiritleader alumni are currently on teams or in college dance departments with the Kings, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, University of Oregon, Sacramento State, Cal Poly, UC Berkeley, University of Hawaii, San Diego State, UC Davis and UC Irvine. Other alumni are working dancers in professional dance companies in New York, Oklahoma, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Walt Disney World in Florida.

The spiritleaders will perform an award-winning hip-hop routine choreographed by assistant coach Rylee Schmidt at Hollie Schmidt’s alma mater, Sacramento State, during halftime of Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. men’s basketball game against Idaho State.

“Showcase Napa Valley,” scheduled for 7 p.m. March 16 at the Napa Valley Unified School District Auditorium, will feature the award-winning spiritleaders competition routines and give a sneak peek at the NHS Dance Department’s May 4-6 dance production, “Then & Now.”

The dance department also offers open classes during its intensive after-school dance fundraiser every Wednesday for advanced middle school and high school dancers and adults. Jazz routines are at 5:15 p.m. and hip hop at 6:15 p.m. All are welcome. Email Director Hollie Schmidt at hschmidt@nvusd.org for more information.

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