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Two Bronze Finishes for the Dance Team

The Dance Team placed 3rd in both pom and kick at the Chicagoland Competition January 5th, 2019.

Senior+Chandler+Rawson+and+alum+and+former+Captain+Mary+Evans+discuss+the+performance+after+the+competition.+
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Two Bronze Finishes for the Dance Team

Senior Chandler Rawson and alum and former Captain Mary Evans discuss the performance after the competition.

Senior Chandler Rawson and alum and former Captain Mary Evans discuss the performance after the competition.

Ava Rawson

Senior Chandler Rawson and alum and former Captain Mary Evans discuss the performance after the competition.

Ava Rawson

Ava Rawson

Senior Chandler Rawson and alum and former Captain Mary Evans discuss the performance after the competition.

Over Christmas Break the dance team traveled by bus to Chicago, the weekend before school came back in session, to compete in the annual Chicagoland competition Jan. 4-6. The competition resulted in two 3rd place finishes in the large pom and large kick categories.

“I really feel like our performances were up to par for the year,” senior Dance Team Officer Claire Lewing said. “I think that was our best Chicago yet, so I am glad with the results, and I am glad I ended on a high note.”

The audience at the Chicagoland Dance Championship Universal Dance Association competition is different. In addition to parents, other schools’ parents and judges, dance team alumnae were also in attendance. Every year members of the dance team who have graduated make the trek to Chicago to watch the team. Some dance team alumnae that came and watched the team perform were Alumnae Livy Wood, Sammy Nesslein, former Captains Mary Evans and Maddy Lewing, older sister of current member Lewing.

“She loves that. It’s always fun,” Lewing said. “We get to switch places. I used to come watch her, but now she’s watching me. And she knows, they all know what it is like, so they all get really hyped.”

Photo by Ava Rawson

Leading up to the competition the head coach added an hour to every practice. The Chicagoland competition was a regional competition, and one not hosted by a local high school. The competition is considerably harder then what the team faces when competing locally because it is attended by so many more schools from across the nation, according to senior Dance Team Captain Kristen Rogge.

“The level of competition in Chicago is a lot more intense than the Kansas City competitions,” Rogge said. “The Chicago competition helps us prepare for Nationals and shows us that there is more competition out there.”

The Chicagoland competition differs from the past two competitions that the team has attended this year in many ways. The floor itself is marley, a performance surface made of vinyl. The team has to make accommodations because they regularly perform and practice on wooden gym flooring, so finding the formations on new surfacings always presents problems according to Rogge.

“Our gym floor is more slick and you can use the markings that are on the floor, like the volleyball and basketball lines to see where you are in formation,” Rogge said. “But in the marley floor there is none of that it blank, so formations are harder to get correct.”

After the competition is all over, traditions take over the team. First comes the buddy gifts, an exchange of presents anonymously. Then comes the pizza and movies, dance team style. While chowing down on deep dish Chicago-style pizza the team watches the other team’s performances that they missed during the day. Once packed up on the bus the team travels down midwestern highways to the so-called World’s Largest Truck Stop in Iowa. Besides the many knickknacks and other gas station paraphernalia, each member of the team brings what they call a truck stop t-shirt to the register.

“We bought our last t-shirts and that was pretty sentimental,” Lewing said.

Looking forward to the UDA National competition, January 31st through February 4th, the team has already started preparing for what is to come. In addition to the added practice time prior to the Chicagoland competition, the workouts at practice have stepped it up to increase the intensity according to Lewing.

“We will continue to need to work hard to make the routines the best they can be before we compete with them at Nationals,” Dance Team freshmen Carmen Phillips said.

 

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