Dance Team places 7th at the City Championships

By Tyrah Jefferson

It’s 5:30 in the evening at Lane. Most students have gone home and most athletes are wrapping up their practices. But the Dance Team is still going strong. 

This is because their competition season is coming up and in addition to preparing for performances at basketball games, they have to perfect their choreography to ensure victory. 

Alessandra Lopez, Div. 072, has been on the Dance Team for four years and is now Captain of the team.

“The captains do choreograph our basketball games so it’s kind of hard to practice for our competitions, which are important,” Lopez said. “But then also come up with dances for basketball games and teach that to the girls, on top of practicing for competitions because there’s only so many days in a week, hours in a day that you feel like, ‘Do I have enough time?’.”

In competitions, the Dance Team performs three different dances: Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Poms.

Their Jazz routine scored the highest points out of the three dances, and qualified for state, according to Co-Captain Aysia Grey, Div. 059. 

In competitions, there are multiple judges who score different things during the dance routines, according to Lopez.

Unity, musicality, and techniques are among the things that are being scored. 

“One judge will look at the whole effects, like if it looks appealing to [the] eye, so that’s kind [of] where unity comes in, how together everybody is and how on-time people are with the music,” Lopez said. “Other judges will look at specific things like techniques, which is like straightening your legs or pointing your toes, that kind of specific stuff like if your arm is [supposed] to be at a certain angle or something like that, so that’s how it works.”

The Dance Team competes in the Illinois High School Association, or IHSA, to try to place at 6th or higher in order to continue to the City Championships.

This year, on Jan. 19, Dance Team placed 7th in the City Championships, just missing the cut-off to move on to State Finals.

In addition to competing at IHSA, the Dance Team competes in the Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA) with a goal of scoring over 80 points to compete in IDTA State Finals. 

On Jan. 5, the Dance Team scored 80.5 points in the IDTA, which was held at Maine East High School. 

One Feb. 8, the Dance Team competed in the second part of the IDTA competition at Hononega High School.

They are moving on to the State Finals on Feb. 15. Additionally, Ella Gooding’s solo dance performance won second place with a score of 84.1 and qualified for State Finals. 

Lopez said being a captain means a lot to her and she enjoys her experiences with the team and being able to see the girls grow as dancers. 

“I think the best part about being captain is bonding with the teammates because even though we are a varsity sport, most varsity sports are seniors and juniors, but we have freshmen and sophomores, so it’s all four years,” Lopez said. “It’s fun to meet these people and bond over something that you love to do because I feel like if I wasn’t on the team I wouldn’t be friends with these girls, and I wouldn’t have a bond that I do have with them.”

Grey also enjoys the environment that the Dance Team has created.

“The team’s environment is definitely a very interesting environment,” Grey said. “It’s cool because you get to see not only the aspects of dancers who are very competitive but also aspects of dancers who this is their first year of dancing and they are just trying something new. It ranges throughout the team and it’s nice for all those different types of experiences to come together and create one picture.”