Reigning the Region

Dance Team takes Double Championship for second year in a row

Holly Rooney, Staff Writer

The Millard West Dance Team is no stranger to competing against many teams at a high level. With high expectations after last year’s success, the team was prepared for their competition weekend.

The team was challenged at the Spirit of America Regional Championship competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to defend their previous double championship title in jazz and hip hop.

The coaches and their group of 12 dancers left Friday, Jan 5th so they could get up bright and early Saturday morning to prepare for their 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. performances. Notorious for their jazz and hip hop routines, the team entered in those two categories as that is what they consistently dominate in. They waited until 2:00 p.m. when the awards would be announced, so they could hear of their placement.

Madelyn Augustine
Senior Caroline Unger leads the dance team at an upbeat pep rally routine

In preparation for their performance day, the dance team tirelessly dedicated around 30 hours towards perfecting their routines over Winter Break. They practiced anywhere from two to four hours a day over a majority of their break only having off the holidays.

“It felt great to win in both jazz and hip hop because we had added so many extra practices over break to push ourselves to be the best we could be,” junior Ashley Mitchell said. “I always get nervous, but I felt that we were prepared and ready to compete.”

Prepared to leave it all on the stage again this year, the dancers walked into a convention center in Minneapolis feeling confident in their new routines.

“This year our goal was to feel good about the dance itself,” senior Caroline Unger said. “We try not to put a lot of emphasis on the placement or scoring and just how we did as a team. As a senior, people look to us as a leader, so we’re responsible for motivating the team before we go on stage.”

Though the student body goes wild for their energetic hip hop performances during pep rallies and football games, they only dedicate part of their summer to learning and teaching each other six routines during camp and ‘work week’ which they reserve for school events. A majority of their after school practices are spent on mastering even better, separate jazz and hip hop routines for competitions.

The team had been working on their routines for Regionals ever since the early months of the school year. After their successful outcome, they will now turn their attention to Nationals in February which will be held in Orlando, Florida which and featured on ESPNU.

“We will continue perfecting our routines and getting the girls extremely confident before we leave for Nationals,” coach Laura Pickett said. “We take our routines to the highest level possible and we focus on going out there knowing we couldn’t have done anything more.”

The Dance team’s dedication towards perfecting their routines was rewarded with first place in jazz and hip hop. After all the hours they devoted, they were able to bring home one more Regional Championship title to Millard West.