East Boston dancers Synnae Fitzpatrick and Isidora Villagra will have a lot of stories to tell their classmates when
they return to school next month.
Synnae, 11, and Isidora, 12, were part of the L’il Phunk Dance Crew of Everett that traveled to Hip Hop International in Phoenix, Ariz. and won the U.S. national championship and finished sixth in the world finals. Thailand took home the world title.
“It feels really good because this was my first time competing with the junior team and we were really proud to make it that far and get a Gold Medal,” said Synnae. “I had a lot of confidence in my teammates, though. They did a really good job. We worked really well together.”
Isidora said she felt confident about her team’s chances to win the championship.
“I thought we could do it because we had worked really hard and our style was a little different than the other teams,” said Isidora.
L’il Phunk performed a fast-paced, electric routine consisting of old-school and new-school hip-hop dance that also included breakdancing to music by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
Synnae’s highlight in the routine was a perfectly executed “kep-up,” a dance move that drew high marks from the judges at the competition.
Isidora also excelled with her special dance moves to the Funky Bunch’s hit song, “Good Vibrations.”
Each member of the first-place team received a gold medal and a stylish hat emblazoned with “National Champions.”
Reia Briggs-Connor, owner of the Phunk Phenomenon Dance Complex in Everett, said she was thrilled to see her group take home the Gold Medal. Teams from throughout the United States, including many from California, competed for the title.
“We were amazed that we were able to win the national title,” said Connor. “We started at the end of May and weren’t sure what to expect because it was a new team that hadn’t competed together at this level. We were really pleased when we finished first in the U.S.A.”
Synnae praised Briggs-Connor, a former New England Patriots cheerleader and a Miss Chelsea pageant winner.
“She is a really good teacher who inspires us to work hard,” said Synnae. “I also want to thank my parents (Marlon and Monique) for coming to Arizona and cheering us on.”
Monique said it was “an awesome experience” seeing her daughter and her teammates become national champions.
“It was emotional, overwhelming, it’s still surreal, an awesome experience,” said Monique. “Synnae has had a lot of fun. She loves dancing.”
Isidora also thanked Briggs-Connor for developing her dancing skills.
“I’ve learned so much from her [Briggs-Connor],” said Isidora, who is originally from Chile and came to the United States two years ago. “I’ve learned new dance styles and moves and that you have to have a lot of energy when you perform. We really love Reia. She’s the best coach. She lifts us up and makes us feel happy.”
Isidora thanked her parents, Hector and Karin, and her baby sister, Omarha, for their support in Arizona.
The two girls are looking forward to returning to the L’il Phunk team that performs at Boston Celtics games at the TD Garden.
“Sometimes we get a little nervous because there are so many people at the Celtics’ games, but we’re getting used to it,” said Isidora.