A team of young dancers is bringing a national championship to Tampa Bay.
The group of 5 to 8 year olds known as "The Sassy Seven" beat more than 100 teams to win the Federation Dance Championship World Cup. They train at Sunrise Performing Arts Academy in St. Petersburg.
Head Coach Jamie Lephew describes these girls as athletes who "glitz up" to better put on their show.
"They are definitely athletes. I don't like the stigma. Just because they're cute—cute costumes and glitter and all that—they're winning on the cute factor. They win because they're talented," Coach Lephew said.
Talented individuals make up the team. Five-year-old Juliet Thomas also wins the national World Cup title for her solo routine.
Juliet admits she sometimes gets tired, but she has a lot of fun dancing and practicing, then practicing some more.
The girls work on technique at least eight hours a week. Juliet carries her World Cup trophy around with her at home, showing it off to her brothers.
Juliet edged out her teammate, 8-year-old Keyla Franklin, for top honors. First runner-up Keyla says she's proud of all her accomplishments, and she thinks her coach, Miss Jamie, is the most proud of her.
Miss Jamie sees the dancers she coaches grow into confident, accomplished, award-winning athletes.
The National Championship World Cups are just a small part of her reward.
"I just like seeing the joy on their faces. This is what I choose to do, because I love it so much," she said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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