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Dancing towards a successful season

Dance team placed first in kick and prop in its first competition of the year on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Esperanza High School’s Contest of the Warriors.

Dance team placed second in small contemporary and received the judge’s award for “Best Showmanship” for their prop routine.

“We placed pretty [high], especially with how early it is in the season,” freshman Sarah Smith said. “It feels pretty good to know that all of our hard work has paid off.”

Dance performed seven routines with styles such as lyrical, jazz, kick and prop to songs including “Bathing Beauty Ballet” by Jules Styne, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by Abba and “I Touched the Fire” by Casey Breves.

“[My favorite routine is] prop. It’s something that you don’t see on the dance floor too often,” Smith said. “All the thought and effort put into every movement and formation really makes it unique.”

The five officers, seniors Jaclyn Hu, Emily Lin, Leilah Lou, Britney Zhang and junior Cara Tsui also performed solos at the competition.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking at first because you’re alone on the huge gym floor, but when your team is there to cheer you on, you tend to forget about the audience and just dance for them,” co-captain senior Britney Zhang said. “Since you’re performing in front of a lot of other people that you don’t know, it’s nice to see familiar faces cheering you on, and it helps us to feel more relaxed.”

In order to prepare for the competition, Dance rehearsed at 6 a.m. every Wednesday and after school from sixth period to 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

“It’s important to rehearse so that when we perform we don’t get too nervous. Having confidence while dancing makes the overall dance look a lot better,” junior Ekaterina Tusken said. “We can have more fun when we have confidence, it may be more enjoyable to watch, and we can all go out and not worry about doing something wrong.”

Judges gave feedback to dancers about showmanship, costume, technique, choreography and more in order to improve their dances for future competitions.

“It’s important to hear feedback because there is almost always something to improve on, even if it might be something very small that may affect someone’s decision to give us a better score,” Tusken said. “It also lets us know how others think about the dances, if we looked good or made a mistake. We can take the feedback and try to fix any mistakes that we made and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes at future competitions.”

The team is looking to improve its dances based on the judges’ critiques. They will be performing at its next competition at Aliso Niguel High School on January 13.

“We’re always changing and improving our dances to make it better with each judge’s comments. Dance is all about entertaining other people, so it’s important that we show people what they want to see,” sophomore Denise Kao said. “This competition is considered early for our season, so we get an extra chance to compete our dances. When we get more practice on the floor, it gives us more experience of competing, which helps us know what we have to do to continue to improve our dances.”

By Flora Lei, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Summer Armstrong