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CHAMPIONS! Dance Team Takes Top Spot

CHAMPIONS! Dance Team Takes Top Spot at 2018 Rikudiah
Posted on 12/15/2018
Dance Team in Action

The Flatbush Varsity Dance Team returned to the pinnacle of the yeshiva girls dance world on Saturday night (12/15), riding a spirited and flowing high-energy performance to victory at the 9th Annual Rikudiah hosted by Kushner Yeshiva HS in Livingston, NJ.

  Dance Team in action

The Rikudiah is the primary dance competition for yeshiva high school girls, and it is the culmination of incredibly competitive try-outs and months of superbly intense training. Since setting the roster back in September, the team had been practicing with the singular goal of regaining the crown they won three seasons ago. With a number of the members of this year’s squad having been a part of the team that finished in third place a year ago, a squad that many believed put on a performance that out-shined all others, there was an edge those returning dancers brought to the team’s training every single day. Co-Captains Adina Cohen and Judy Mizrachi were determined to do everything in their power to insure a different outcome this year, and they drove their teammates with an incredibly high level of intensity and dedication. Every Tuesday evening the team gathered in the old Student Lounge to learn the dance and then to perfect it. As the night of the competition approached, the captains demanded more practice time, including a final marathon training session this past Thursday where they moved from the Main Gym to the Lounge and finally to the Aux Gym – all in one evening! But, would it be enough to lift the Falcon Dancers back to the top of the podium?

 Dance Team

Saturday night arrived, and it was time to put all that practice into performance. With a large contingent of supporters on hand at Kushner, the Flatbush Dance team could feel the energy in the gym and set out to put on the best possible display of the dance. Choreographed by Co-Captains Cohen and Mizrachi, the dance included a variety of hip-hop moves set to a range of music with a number of changes in tempo. It also included the use of props – umbrellas, to be specific – that added both to the movement and color of the team performance. It was soon Flatbush’s turn, and the team took the center of the Kushner gymnasium floor. Along with Co-Captains Cohen and Mizrachi, the team consists of the following Flatbush student-athletes: Rebecca Azar, Prissy Baranoff, Arlyne Jemal, Marcelle Lazar, Nicole Levy, Renee Marcos, Sophia Mizrahi, Jennifer Mudich, Barbara Salama, Jennifer Salzman, Lauren Segal, Louise Sitt, Arlyne Stein and Evelyn Tawil.

 Dance Team
Dance Team

For over five minutes, the Falcon Dancers moved with precision through the space, with the crowd reacting with cheers to each change in the dance, culminating in a splash of color in the dance’s finale. When the music stopped and the dance was over, the spectators showered the Flatbush Dance Team with applause. The work was done, and it was now in the hands of the judges to determine just how well received the performance was.

 Dance Team Dance Team
Dance Team

As the judges’ decision was announced, the tension mounted. The Falcons huddled together, hopeful for their desired result. The third place team was announced (Magen David Yeshivah), then they announced second place (awarded to Hillel Yeshivah). For Flatbush now, it was either all or nothing. Moments later, everyone knew – it was ALL! The judges revealed the winning team, and it was the Flatbush Falcons!!! The team erupted in celebration as their supporters on hand yelled and screamed their approval. Flatbush was back on top of the Metropolitan Yeshiva dance world, right were they – and those who danced for Flatbush before them – believe they always belong!

 Celebration

Afterwards, a pair of elated and exhausted team captains reflected on their team’s achievements. Adina Cohen exclaimed, “after many hours of choreographing and practicing, we took home the win!!!” Overcome with emotion, Cohen continued, “when I heard we got 1st place, I immediately started to cry with tears of joy. I was so happy that our hard work payed off. The team made Judy’s and my visions come to life, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team and better coaches!!” Judy Mizrachi added here own reflections. “Once I heard our names being called up as the 1st place winners, I felt excited, accomplished and proud! Nothing compared to seeing all our hard work and dedication pay off!”

 Co-Captains

 Head Coach Adele Greenberg agreed. “I’m so proud of the girls for their outstanding performance! With great leadership from the captains, a creative theme, sharp choreography, costumes, and amazing dancers, they really deserved first place. After putting in so many hours of practice and dedicating so much time and effort into something they love, I’m grateful they can celebrate this victory!”

In the end, Cohen summed it up best with her lasting image from the night. “Seeing the crowd cheer behind those umbrellas is an image in my mind that I will never forget.” Neither will any of her Dance Team teammates. This win is theirs – forever!

 Dance Team

NEST NOTES: The Rikudiah serves as a fundraising event as well. As is the tradition, the winning team gets to select the organization or charity that will be the beneficiary of the event. The Flatbush dancers haven’t yet decided exactly where the money will be going, but they have been inspired by Sally Shatzkes’s Witness Theater program and want to use the money in a way to help benefit the program and its participating Holocaust survivors. One possibility under consideration is to use the funds to cover costs associated with the transportation to bring holocaust survivors on seminars, while another may be to pay for an event in memory of Sally, A”H (a holocaust survivor the girls have worked with who recently passed).

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