Dance team kicklines toward new year

Jocelyn Cheung, Staff Writer

By night, the dance team cheers the football team, dances for the audience and performs the half-time show under the  lights. But by day, they improve their flexibility and technical skills such as aerials, kicklines, pirouettes and a la secondes to prepare for football games.

During the rest of the year, they practice and choreograph competition routines to attend nationals and other competitions. The dancers’ competitive season begins after the end of the football season and consists of around five competitions. The dancers look forward to this normal season, especially after having their previous season cut short due to the pandemic. 

“We didn’t get to go to Orlando to compete in nationals,” dance team captain and senior Dana Schofield said. “I’m super happy to be back and dancing.”

This season, they are able to practice four days a week in the cafeteria. Despite returning to frequent practices, the pandemic has prevented them from reinstating certain traditions.

“There has definitely been much less team bonding,” junior Julia Shen said. “In past years, we would be able to go on team outings and build teamwork outside of practices.”

Masks are not enforced while dancing this season. Last season, masks were mandatory unless the dancers were fully vaccinated.

“We had to wear masks during practices and football games,” Schofield said. “Wearing a mask was hard to dance in breathing and [expression] wise, because using your face is a big part of dance.”

Returning members continue to focus on sharpening their previous skills and team work, such as practicing and choreographing pom and jazz routines for competitions. The new freshmen dancers have made goals relating to their personal skills.

“One of my goals is to improve my turns and get more up to speed with technique as much as I can,” freshman Katie Ayala said.

The dance team said they aim to continue to grow as a team and stay hard-working and uniform. They said they also look forward to going to the UDA High School National Competition, which they are able to go to if they attend a UDA camp and receive a trophy.

“[Competing] really improves us when we train and condition together,” Shen said. “It’s important to have teammates that are constantly supportive, because it shows in our dancing and keeps each other motivated to achieve our goals.”