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Newtown Tap Dancers Heading Overseas For World Tap Championships



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Newtown’s own Kathryn Kavovit, Ava Warner, and Alyssa Wright will represent the country at the annual World Tap Championships in Riesa, Germany in late September. They are part of American Dance Collaborative, which is a member of the United States Dance Sport Competition Federation. The US team departs September 22 for a week-long trip overseas and will compete in the Junior Formation.

These dance standouts and their teammates will shuffle, stomp, and ball change on stage against the best from Germany, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and Croatia, among others in an Olympic-style event that will feature a flag ceremony and medals. The US dance team members will trade keepsakes such as bracelets and key chains with their competitors, and stand to take home some great memories regardless of how they do, as well.

“It’s a big accomplishment for them — they work very hard,” said Shari Wright, whose daughter attends Immaculate High. “It’s a unique thing that very few people have an opportunity to do.”

“I just think it’s amazing they’re representing the USA. I love the Olympics and the flag and what it stands for. The girls have an opportunity to represent USA and bring home the gold,” dance dad Jeff Kavovit added.

The United States has been well-represented in this competition in a short time. In its inaugural appearance at the 2019 World Tap Championships, also in Riesa, Germany, American Dance Collaborative had every dancer on the US Tap Team advance to the final round, collectively bringing home six medals. In the team’s post pandemic return to the World Tap Championships, in Velika Gorica, Coratia in 2022, the US Tap Team won 13 medals.

Dance mom Karin Warner noted that this is an opportunity for the Newtown tap dancers to take something they are passionate about, represent the country, and share the experience with others from different countries.

Kavovit, a sophomore, and Warner, a junior, are members of the Newtown High School dance team, which performs at halftime of football and basketball games and competes in jazz and hip-hop championships. In addition to the time they put in with the high school team, Kavovit and Warner join Wright, a sophomore, whose school does not have a dance team, and compete through The Station Dance Academy. These dancers work on their skills year-round and had to audition for the opportunity to be on the US team, which has 17 competitors.

They practice 15 plus hours per week, not to mention time on the high school team for Kavovit and Warner, year-round. Through The Station Dance Academy, these dancers participate in competitions — mostly in Connecticut, with some out of state, in New Jersey and Rhode Island, for example.

Kavovit points out that it is pretty cool the Newtown representatives only recently met their new teammates and are getting in sync with them for a big competition with practices at Seven Star School of Performing Arts in Brewster, N.Y. most weeks since the spring.

The US team is led by choreographer Jillian McNamara, a world champion dancer who organized that first group of dancers to compete in 2019, and who formed the American Dance Collaborative, an official member of the United States Dance Sport Competition Federation. These highly-talented Newtown dancers and their teammates will represent the US under her direction.

“It’s so fun being on stage and doing what I love,” Wright said. “I’m really excited.”

“I’m really looking forward to it. I love going to competitions with my team. It’s really going to be fun to be in a new environment,” Warner added. “I’ve never been out of the country so it will be interesting.”

This is the first time out of the states for each of the Newtown dancers but the trip is focused around something that has been a staple in their lives from a very young age. Each has practiced skills and worked hard at improving for about a dozen years. For Warner, dance provides a break from stress. Kavovit said tap dancing, in particular, is very satisfying due to the structure of the routines.

“I definitely want to keep it in my life,” Wright said of her hopes to continue with dance in the years to come. Kavovit echoed Wright’s sentiments, and Warner is looking to continue dance at the collegiate level.

“That’s definitely part of my college search,” Warner said.

And the experience of traveling to Germany for not only dance but also sightseeing is an opportunity of a lifetime for these athletes.

“I’m really excited to represent the USA,” Kavovit said.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Alyssa Wright, Ava Warner, and Kathryn Kavovit, of Newtown, will represent the US at the World Tap Championships in Germany in September. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
The Newtown dancers have been working on their skills for about a decade and will leave the country to compete for the first time.
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