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From left to right (back toward us) Samantha Jankowitz, Caroline Kim, Katherin Hansen (with braids) and Iliana Gravina (squatting) stretching before the dance. (Photo by Hildi Borkowski)
Posted: Monday April 9, 2012, 3:10 PM
By Jodi Weinberger of Waldwick Suburban News

Six days a week a group of teens from around Bergen County come to Studio L in the borough for dance practice.

They put on their leotards; the girls pull their hair back into tight ponytails or braids, and warm-up begins with a series of impossible-looking stretches in front of a wall of mirrors.

The dedication of this group of students, known as The Larkin Dancers, caught the attention of MSG Varsity this year, a television network that showcases high school sports, academics and other activities in the tri-state area.

The ensemble will be featured among 32 high school singing and dancing acts from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in the second season of "MSG Varsity’s Talent Show," hosted by "American Idol" semifinalist Jared Cotter.

Each week, beginning at 8 p.m. April 15, eight teams will compete for three titles: "Individual Vocalist," "Vocal Ensemble" and "Dance Ensemble." The audience will decide the winner by casting votes at MSGvarsitytalentshow.com. The performers with the most votes will advance to the next round.

At stake for the dancers is the chance to participate in a Broadway dance workshop taught by a performer from a show they will see that day. The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. June 3.

Last month, The Larkin Dancers got a taste of performing in front of a camera when the network came to the Waldwick studio to shoot promotional advertisements for the channel.

The 20 students — 16 girls and four boys — shouted phrases like "Vote for us!" while holding difficult poses and enthusiastic smiles until the cameraman gave a thumbs up.

"It’s so exciting," said one of the team’s captains, Lacey Larkin of Upper Saddle River.

"It would mean so much to me," said Tyler Glovin, another team captain from Waldwick. "We’ve been working very hard."

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