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Coupeville dancers (l to r) Sophia Batterman, Maliha Breaux, and Lucy Humphries take the stage in style. (Photos courtesy Nikki Breaux)

All the awards belong to us.

They danced away with all the awards.

Or at least most of them.

Three Coupeville Elementary School students had a strong performance in Seattle this weekend, claiming multiple prizes for their artistry on the stage.

Lucy Humphries, Sophia Batterman, and Maliha Breaux all are members of the Phoenix Rising Dance Company.

Competing at Dupree Dance in Seattle, the trio of Coupeville stars won awards both for solo and group performances.

As a trio, they received Gold Awards for all three of their dances, as well as picking up a Special Award and 3rd place overall High-Score Award for their performance of “In the Arms of an Angel.”

That dance, and “Ex’s and Oh’s” and “Jailhouse” were choreographed by Selestino Rendon.

Breaux and Batterman earned Platinum Awards for their solos, with Humphries notching a Gold Award.

Rendon choreographed Batterman’s solo, with Breaux and Humphries co-choreographing their dances with moms Nikki and Lynnette, respectively.

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All your pertinent details, in a snazzy poster. (Photo courtesy Ben Etzell)

You can dance the afternoon away, and also support a good cause.

Former Coupeville High School baseball star Ben Etzell is back on the Island and is throwing a “Down 2 Boogie” event next Sunday, June 16.

The event runs from 2:30-5:30 at the Coupeville Rec Hall, and is free to the public.

It will also double as the kickoff to Lucas Etzell’s campaign for Mr. South Whidbey.

Lucas is Ben’s younger brother and one of four children in the family to graduate from Coupeville High School.

“I created the event in celebration of everyone’s unique abilities,” Ben Etzell said.

“Inspired by my brother Lucas, his experience with Down Syndrome, and the impact he’s had on others, my goal is to bring together communities for an afternoon of music, movement, and true connection.”

There will be a donation station at the event, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund.

You can find out more about the group, which helps South Whidbey families pay medical bills, by popping over to http://fofmedicalsupportfund.org/.

Every dollar donated also counts as a vote for Lucas as he competes for Mr. South Whidbey, which awards its title in October.

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Coupeville twins Skyy and Joey Lippo are off to new adventures. She’s got a dance scholarship, he’s rejoining high school teammates on the college baseball diamond. (Teresa Besaw photo)

They’ve spent much of their life together, but now the diamond and the stage will separate them for a bit.

Twins Skyy and Joey Lippo, who graduated from Coupeville High School in 2018, have recently pledged themselves to different colleges.

Skyy is headed off to the Midwest, where she will attend The University of Missouri-Kansas City on a dance scholarship, while her brother has signed to play baseball at Green River College in Auburn.

That move reunites Joey with former CHS teammates CJ and Hunter Smith, who will be sophomores on next year’s Gator diamond squad.

Lippo, who bounced between the infield and outfield in his Coupeville days (with some stints at catcher and pitcher as well) figures to be a full-time outfielder at Green River.

He’s studying criminal justice.

“I hope to play center field, but anywhere in the outfield would be great,” Joey Lippo said. “I plan to transfer to UMKC after two years to join Skyy and finish my degree and maybe play tennis there, since they don’t have a baseball team.”

During his time at CHS, Joey was an All-League baseball player and teamed up with William Nelson to form the #1 doubles duo for the Wolf netters.

His sister, who performed with the Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, will study modern dance and ballet at UMKC, with a minor in business.

Skyy, who was a regular in productions of The Nutcracker, will also perform outside the school as she pursues her dance dream.

“If I get the opportunity to dance professional, I will,” she said. “If not, I will teach at a dance studio and hope to manage a studio of my own.”

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   CHS senior Skyy Lippo (right) is off to North Carolina this summer after being accepted for a prestigious three-week dance program. (Photo courtesy Connie Lippo)

Skyy Lippo is conquering the world, once dance stage at a time.

The Coupeville High School senior has been accepted into the Pre-Professional Dance Intensive, a three-week summer event hosted by the American Dance Festival.

Held in Durham, North Carolina from June 30-July 21, it draws in 400 dancers and artists from around the world, with Lippo’s group numbering around 60 students.

While there, dancers will work with top choreographers and musicians on the campus at Duke University.

Classes will include modern dance, ballet, Afro-fusion, hip hop, and repertory.

In repertory class, the dancers will create a new work which they will premiere on the final day of the summer session.

Along with the classes, where she’ll often be putting in 6-8 hours a day, Lippo will also have a chance to be front row for performances by a variety of professional dance companies.

Some of the artists she and her fellow dancers are scheduled to see include Abraham.In.Motion, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, the Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Pilobolus.

The rare opportunity to take part in the Dance Intensive is one Lippo has fully earned, according to Char Brown, Artistic Director of Whidbey Island Dance Theatre and co-owner of Island Dance.

“As Skyy grew as a dancer she didn’t get involved in the dancer drama of the classroom,” she said. “Instead she developed relationships with her instructors that allowed her to focus on all their critiques, which made her a stronger dancer.

Skyy never challenged what her teachers wanted to give her; instead, she embraced every exercise, every combination, every choreograph piece, and every correction,” Brown added. “Skyy has been an inspiration and a role model to all of her peers, and all those young dancers that look up to her and are inspired to be a dancer like Skyy someday.”

Working with Lippo over several years, the teacher has seen the student grow and blossom.

Skyy is just not a dancer but has evolved into a wonderful choreographer, a teacher, and an amazing mentor to all those involved with her on a daily basis in her studio and company,” Brown said. “Skyy’s leadership for the last three years as a dance captain has taken the company in a positive direction, building moral and leaving no one out and creating a family environment.

Skyy has been a true joy in my studio, in my classroom and in my life.”

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   Skyy Lippo has been active on the ballet stage for most of her 18 years. (Photos courtesy Connie Lippo)

The early days of a dance queen.

The company and the dancer are both hitting milestones.

When Whidbey Island Dance Theatre stages its annual production of The Nutcracker in Dec., it’ll be the 25th anniversary for the holiday staple.

At the same time, Coupeville High School senior Skyy Lippo, who is dancing the lead role of the Faerie Queen, is capping her own 12-year run in the ballet.

Lippo, who has “danced pretty much since she could walk,” has spent her entire school life chasing her dream.

Over the years, she’s progressed from being a bumblebee buzzing around in the background to taking center stage.

Last year, the production shifted the Rat King role to being the Rat Queen for Lippo.

Now, in her final Nutcracker — at least as a high-schooler — she’s settling in to the lead performance, which in most previous years has gone to a pro dancer.

As Lippo has progressed from bit roles to starring parts, she’s also risen in the company and currently occupies a dance captain position.

After graduation, she plans to continue pursuing dance while attending college. Lippo is undecided on a career, but is entertaining thoughts of training to be an EMT or nurse.

The thought of her leaving Whidbey and not being in a future production of The Nutcracker is an idea which will take some getting used to for all involved.

“I don’t think we can let her graduate,” WIDT President Dierdre Sherman said with a laugh. “She really is the backbone of this company and I greatly appreciate all she brings as dance captain and as a dancer!”

It’s a feeling shared by many who have worked with Lippo during her days as a dancer.

“I don’t have enough positive ways to describe Skyy,” said Head Ballet Mistress Katelyn Lodell. “She’s hard working, mature beyond her years, and always brings light into the room.

“I’ll never forget watching her as a baby flower and her beaming smile,” she added. “So excited to watch her as faerie queen!”

When they look back at her career, Lippo’s former dance instructors do so with great pride.

Skyy has been a blessing beyond words to me personally as her teacher, choreographer and director,” Jamie Pitts said. “I’ve so appreciated her helpful and organized nature and her willingness to push herself herself physically and emotionally in everything we have worked on together.

“She is a poster child for current and future dancers and has been a gift to her company girls as their captain.”

Lippo was a student in the first modern dance class Amy Jo Lehman taught after returning home for college, making this an especially emotional performance for her former instructor.

“Baby Skyy is all grown up! She made it so easy for all of us,” Lehman said. “She’s the heart and soul of the studio and the company and she represents the epitome of hard work.

“I’m sure there were years where she didn’t get cast in the roles she was hoping, or got criticism in class that stung, but she pushed through and didn’t let it faze her, only motivate her,” she added. “Now look at her — she’s developed into such a beautiful, strong, confident, amazing dancer.”

The Nutcracker runs over two weekends, with performances Dec. 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17.

For more info and to buy tickets, pop over to:

http://widtonline.org/

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