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Ceres High shines at United Spirit Association camp
Ceres High's Perpetual Motion Dance Team shined at the United Spirit Association Jazz Dance Camp, held July 6-8, at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

"We're very pleased," said Sheri Moring-Sousa, advisor.

Led by Logan Harden, Melissa Ruger, McKenzy Harden, Cailan Gaede, Kaylynn Pittman, Zharinna Valdivia, Morgan Ogden, Kelly Gallagher, Brooke Hurst, Samantha Johnson, Courtney Callanta, Myranda Price and Jodi Cunnington, Ceres captured the Superior Dance Award.

"It was based on hard work, dedication, skill level and whether you know the material," Moring-Sousa said.

Logan, McKenzy, Ruger, Gaede and Pittman received "Super Dance" ribbons. The Harden sisters advanced to the semifinal round of the competition, which featured hundreds of participants. Technique, showmanship and choreography were taken into account during the judging process.

"It was really important they entertained the audience," Moring-Sousa said.

Approximately 60 girls auditioned for Perpetual Motion in March at Ceres High School.

"We whittled it down to 40 at the end," Moring-Sousa said. "Eight of the girls on the team are freshmen (Gaede, Valdivia, Ogden, Gallagher, Hurst, Price, Callanta and Cunnington). I almost always have mostly seniors. This is definitely a new experience. It's going to be awesome. They're so enthusiastic."

Perpetual Motion started preparing for the new year in June. Members train four times a week, from 6-7:30 a.m. Emphasis is placed on a variety of genres, including jazz, hip-hop, tap, ballet and character.

"They're getting up at 5:30 in the morning so they can be at practice," Moring-Sousa said. "They've been so dedicated."

Perpetual Motion will perform at a variety of events during the 2007-08 school year. Earlier this summer, the team was featured at the Concerts in the Park series in downtown Ceres.

"We do a lot of school and community functions," Moring-Sousa said. "The girls love to perform in front of their peers. My vision is to have them perform different genres in a variety of settings. We have a lot of work cut out for us."

Many of Moring-Sousa's dancers are overachievers. They excel in other sports and in the classroom where they take AP and Honors courses. The team GPA hovers over 3.0.

"That's definitely a prerequisite," Moring-Sousa said. "They have to keep their grades up just like in any other sport."

Sheri founded the Ceres High Perpetual Motion Dance Team 26 years ago.

"At that time, we had 100 girls that came out and danced," she said. "By the time the year ended, we still had 50 girls dancing. Our first big gig was at Modesto Junior College. We got to do a basketball game. I'll never forget that. It was so fun."

The 2007-08 Perpetual Motion Dance Team looks forward to a fun and successful year ahead.

"The dynamics of the team are awesome," Logan said. "These girls really want to be here and are putting in 110 percent to make this a great team. I love it and I love them. We also have a great group of parents that support the program and help whenever and wherever they can. It's really like having an extended family