By Todd Martin

Special to the Daily Herald

At Fort Hood's Clear Creek Elementary School, a dance team formed to give students a low-cost alternative to dance lessons, has turned into an award winner.

The Silver Spurs, led by volunteers and financed through parent fundraising, is headed to national dance competition Saturday at the University of North Texas.

Nickie Thompson, a special education interventionist, and Phylishia Brown, a clinic aide, lead the dance team. Both have experience in dance.

In two competitions this year, the Silver Spurs have won first in hip-hop and were named outstanding drill team in hip-hop.

The group has won several individual dance honors, including a grand championship solo by one of their smallest participants, kindergartener McKenna Oxford.

"I like doing the turns," said Oxford, who said the tournaments get exciting.

Thompson started the after-school dance group four years ago to expose girls to the fundamentals of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and modern dance.

This is the first year she is taking the group to the national level of competition.

"The girls enjoy it and it gives them confidence," said Brown, who said she danced competitively in high school.

The leaders praised the parents, who allow their children to stay after school twice a week normally and more often with national competition coming up. They also hold fundraisers and transport students to competitions.

"I like it because it's fun and it keeps you fit," said fifth-grader Aaliyah Garza. "Competition is nerve racking, but if we mess up, we fix ourselves."

"It's fun and challenging," said Sierra Ousley, a fifth-grader who said she likes the tricks and learning dance moves.

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