TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – They’re young, energetic and they know how to dance – just ask the teachers and students at Sawtooth Elementary School.

Darla Petersen, physical ed teacher at Sawtooth Elementary School, poses for a photo with students who competed in a dance competition for Fuel Up to Play 60. Petersen and the girls came up with the dance routine and shared it on YouTube. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)

Six fifth-grade girls performed a dance routine at the school on Tuesday to loud applause. It was an original dance they came up with for Fuel Up to Play 60, a nutritional and physical activity program by the National Dairy Council and NFL.

The girls didn’t place in state finals, but they said that was OK – they still had a lot of fun coming up with the dance, performing, and becoming fast friends.

Led by their instructor Darla Petersen, physical ed teacher at the school, the girls came together as a team in early January. Petersen, who taught dance from 1989 to 1993 at Minico High School, said she saw information about the dance competition and decided it might be fun to have the school enter.

She approached the school’s fifth-grade teachers to see what students, if any, might be interested. She was surprised by the answer: a lot of students were interested. But because Petersen hadn’t taught dance in several years, she was nervous about instructing so many students at once. She decided to draw names, and randomly pulled six names from the list.

It was a time commitment on the girls’ part, as well as Petersen’s. They practiced during their morning and lunch recess breaks, she said. As part of the competition, they had to develop a dance routine, make a video, and post it on YouTube.

Tuesday’s two performances were for the school’s teachers and students. Before the dancers started, Petersen told the audience she did not know how the team placed in the state competition. But after it was over she broke the news to the girls.

“We didn’t make it to finals,” she said. “But we were named as a runner-up.”

Some of the girls didn’t know what that meant, and when Petersen explained it to them they said they were fine with the outcome because they took away other things from the competition.

“I enjoyed spending time with my friends,” said Abbi Roberts. She didn’t know all of her teammates when they began practicing in January because they came out of different classes, but now they all are good friends.

Sydney Morris said she enjoyed the simple pleasure of dancing.

“I really like to dance,” she said, noting that she’s performed many different types of dances, but especially enjoyed the camaraderie that prevailed with this team. “This was a lot of fun.”

Other girls on the team are Hailey Bowman, Korbynn Kelley, Noelle Aldama and Brea Mueller.

Fuel Up to Play 60, in collaboration with the USDA, aims to encourage youth to lead healthier lives by eating better and doing at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Sawtooth has participated in the program for about the past four years.

Petersen, who shares her time at Harrison Elementary, said six was an easy number of students to handle for her first time teaching dance in a while, but if the school competes in the competition again next year, she’d accept many more students.

“The girls had a lot of fun,” she said, noting that she also had a blast. “Next time I’d take 20 students.”

The six girls on the Sawooth Elementary dance team performed for teachers and students at the school on Tuesday. Dancers are Hailey Bowman, Korbynn Kelley, Noelle Aldama, Brea Mueller, Sygney Morris and Abbi Roberts. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)