Dance Team Makes it a Decade of Dubs

Dance team brings home their 10th consecutive state championship.

Allie Dierks, A&E Editor

Ava Rawson
Captain senior Kristen Rogge holds the team’s State Championship trophy, after winning the competition for the 10th year in a row.

Video submitted by Marion Gould

 

The Dance Team took home the Division 3A Overall State Championship at the Missouri State Dance Team Championships in St. Charles, Missouri Feb. 23. After winning first in both pom and kick dances, the team had the highest average score from all teams that competed in any category in Division 3. With this victory, the team won their 10th consecutive state title.

“The team felt really good about both of our performances. We focused on doing the dances the way that we did them at practice,” captain senior Kristen Rogge said. “We knew what we were supposed to do, so we just had to go out on the floor and do it.”

After the team’s record-breaking success at Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championships Feb. 1-3 by making Pom finals for the first time since 2014, placing fourth in the Varsity High Kick division and tenth in the Large Pom category, the team had to change their dances to fit Missouri state requirements. The team spent a lot of time, had extra practices, and extended practice time to make sure they met the kick requirement, according to Rogge.

Video submitted by Marion Gould

“The criteria for the dance is different than at nationals,” Rogge said. “We needed to make sure we had the right amount of full team kicks by kicking on the same count.”

Not only did the team get recognized for their success on the dance floor, but all eligible team members also received an academic award, according to Head Coach alumna Shelli Vaughan ‘95. Since the freshman don’t have a completed transcript yet, they aren’t eligible, but the other 16 members were awarded for having GPA’s of a 3.5 or higher.

“I would describe my feelings from State as pride and joy,” Vaughan said. “They accomplished all the goals they set as a team.”

The moment when the team’s name was called for first place is one the team will never forget, according to Rogge. The top five teams are asked to stand, and one by one teams are announced until the final two are the only ones left standing. The announcer asks the first place team to hold their celebration, so the second place team can be recognized. In that moment after the second place team is announced and the team knew they had won, they were squeezing each other’s hands so hard trying not to move. Finally, after the team’s name is announced, the team can really celebrate with screams, tears, and hugs, according to junior Libby Slaymaker.

“After they announced the second-place team, I felt so much joy knowing that we accomplished our goal as a team to win state,” Rogge said. “It was honestly relieving to know that all the hard work we put in paid off. ”

Video submitted by Marion Gould

The streak has not gone without scares and heart attacks during a few award ceremonies according to alumna Maddy Lewing ‘15. Lewing’s senior year, another team won first in both of their divisions, and that team didn’t do kick or pom, so the two teams were never up against each other directly. However, the dance team’s average score was higher so the dance team kept the streak alive. When Lewing was a senior the team had only won six in a row, she is impressed the team has been able to keep the steak for this long.

“When we won state my senior year, it had only been six years in a row. So I really hoped that we would keep winning, but I knew that it couldn’t last forever,” Lewing said. “I’m very impressed that the team has continued the strong winning streak.”

As the award ceremony is finishing, the team celebrates after being announced the overall State Champions. (Photo by Ava Rawson)

Last year, the team almost lost the streak after winning by a narrow 30 points in 2017. In 2018, the team got second in their pom routine but because of their high score in the kick dance, they were able to hang on to the overall State Championship title. The team used this as motivation all year as they knew they needed to work harder than ever to make sure they never got that close again.

“I was the most nervous we might have lost the streak in 2018 after the pom results were announced,” Vaughan said. “I knew that the overall state champion was based on total points but that situation was a real nail-biter.”

Every year the talent gets better and better, and as the streak gets longer as more teams are trying to ruin the streak, according to Slaymaker. The team has to keep improving and trying new skills to be able to keep up. Lewing says she is unsure she would be able to make the team if she tried out now because of how much the team has grown since she graduated, four years ago.

“I don’t think I could make the team if I tried out now,” Lewing said. “I think the team continues to improve every year, incorporating new skills and pushing themselves to work harder.”

 

Ava Rawson
Co-captain senior Megan Broomfield leaps during Dance Team’s pom performance at State Feb. 23. The team won first for their pom performance and first overall for the tenth consecutive year.

Dance Team has been coached by its founder, Vaughan and her mother Marion Gould since its start in 1994. Vaughan started the team during her senior year in high school.  Dance team could not survive without them as they are the heart of the team, according to Slaymaker.

 

“Every performance is dedicated to Shelli and G, they spend so much time with us and sacrifice so much, and we are so thankful for them,” Slaymaker said. “Not to mention, Shelli does all of our choreography. They are just the best.”

One of the things that makes Dance Team so special to all its members is the connection and family aspect of the team, according to Rogge. All the members would agree that the team is a family who all love each other dearly, according to Rogge. They all share the same passion for dance and want to work hard for themselves, but also for each other.

 

I would describe my feelings from state as pride and joy, they accomplished all the goals they set as a team.”

— Head Coach Shelli Vaughan

“I’m going to miss the feeling of family that our team has so much,” Rogge said. “We are a really tight-knit group, and we all know each other so well. I’m going to miss having a group of people that love dance as much as I do and a group of people that are motivated because they enjoy dance so much.”

With the end of State, the Dance Team season officially ends. The team tried out last April and began practicing in June, and has practiced consistently, at least three times a week since. While the team will celebrate their season with a banquet March 3, the rising seniors have already started talking about next year’s goals, according to Slaymaker.  

“The seniors have already decided our main goals next year are to be in the top three for kick at nationals, to make pom finals again, to win state again,” Slaymaker said. “And of course to have a bonded team with that family aspect that makes dance team what it is.” 

 

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