Dancing to the state competiton


The hip-hop competition team qualified for the state competition after receiving a score of 81.9 at the regional competition on Feb. 2. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Badikov)

By Nicole Herzog, Editor-In-Chief

As the numerous competing dance teams anxiously waited to hear the results of the regional high school dance competition, Lane’s team gathered in a circle on the gym floor mats, squeezing each other’s hands in hopeful anticipation.

The energy moved from tense to exuberant at Hononegah Community High School on Saturday, Feb. 2 when the judges announced that Lane was eligible to move on to the state championship with a qualifying score of a 81.9.

“After the judges called our name, we were so excited,” Co-Captain Abigail Dolhay, Div 977, said. “We jumped up and were screaming, and some of the girls that have been on the team for a long time were crying because they were so happy.”

According to Dolhay, a score of 80 was required to be accepted into the state competition.

The team had two chances to qualify for the state championship, one at the regional competition held at Maine East on Jan. 6 and the other on the Feb. 2 date.

At the first competition, the team scored a 79.3 and therefore did not qualify for the state competition.

Based on the judges’ critiques on the routine performed at the Maine East competition, Dolhay said that the team continuously worked on improving their routine in the time between the next competition in order to qualify for state.

“After receiving a score of 79.3 at our first competition, we knew we could do it,” Dolhay said. “We took the judges’ notes and cleaned and perfected the dance.”

This year marks the first time that Lane’s dance team has attended the state competition since 2012, making it seven years since the team has been eligible to compete.

Coach Natalie Rodriguez attributed the team’s success this year to their overall drive and desire to win.

Their talent, dedication and common goal to get to state has helped them to come together each week to do what is necessary to make each performance the best it can be,” Rodriguez said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and the work they have put in to get where they are today.”

Additionally, Greenwood said that the team persevered, despite challenges and unforeseen circumstances that occured before the regional competition.

“This year was actually really difficult considering the fact that our old assistant coach couldn’t choreograph for us last minute,” Greenwood said. “So, we scrambled last minute with a new choreographer and learned our dance in three days. We knew that we really did have a chance, and all we needed to do was work together and put all of our minds to it to make it happen.”

In order to prepare for the state competition, the group held practices every day after school during the preceding week in order to strengthen the routine as well as add more difficult hip hop elements to their dance.

“We already know what we want to fix, which is to add more hip hop based tricks and clean our dance up a little more,” Greenwood said.

“It’s all about having a strong and clean routine. So this Thursday we’re having a four hour practice to get what we need done.”

Rodriguez emphasized the significance of coming together as a team within the last few weeks in order to make the dance as seamless as possible.

“When dancing as a team, it is important for everyone to dance the same and look like one dancer out there instead of 16 individual ones,” Rodriguez said. “That means you really have to be in tune with each other and have great teamwork. We plan to work hard this week to make that happen and help add a few more points to our unity score.”

The state competition was held on Feb. 9 at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield, IL. Though the team did not place, the experience was a rewarding one, team member Elizabeth Badikov, Div. 972, said.

“All the teams in our division were there last year, so it was tough competition but we’re really proud of our performance,” Badikov said. “It was very different from what we’re used to and it was super fun. It was also very surreal since state has been our goal for such a long time.”