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Dance team sets record at Nationals

Dance Team placed 10th in national competition in early Februrary

Claudia Levens

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At this year’s National Dance Team Championship, New Trier’s Dance Team placed 10th in the nation in the “Large Varsity Hip-Hop” division–the highest they’ve ever placed.

The national competition was held in Orlando, FL, at the Walt Disney World Resort. From Feb. 3-5, over 100 schools from around the country dance in multiple categories including poms, and hip-hop.

Because New Trier attends this competition each year, many of the girls on the team have competed multiple times already. However, Senior Captain Julia Bosco said that this year, there was a pervasive sense of newfound determination among the girls on the team.

She, along with the other two captains, Caroline Campolo and Lily Warner, were determined to foster a cohesive team.

“It definitely felt like this year was a lot more competitive because of how hard we worked and how much we wanted to improve. We all wanted to do better than we did last year and we did. We’re really proud of that,” Warner said.

Though learning the competition routine started as early as October, conditioning began the previous summer, with team members learning  more material, practicing techniques and improving endurance.

The National Competition also  requires that ten or more members attend an overnight camp in order to qualify.

When the school year season began, the team competed against surrounding high school teams. Once they received a high enough score, they received a bid which qualified them to compete at Nationals in Orlando.

There are multiple numbers that the team learned throughout the season, but the hip-hop dance they performed was choreographed by coach Bryce Curry.

“Although some of the tricks were difficult, we had a lot of fun working together and challenging ourselves to try new things,” Bosco said. These new tricks also helped  them place higher in the competition than they ever had before.

Coach Heather Wiggins noted that at the competition, there were several schools that have returned each year, and there are sometimes new teams that they haven’t seen before.

Wiggins explained that she and Curry “tried to mentally prepare the girls for performing by encouraging them to not watch the other teams or talk about the other teams leading up to the competition. We feel this helps them remained focused on their goals as a team, and not distracted by what others are doing.”

But Nationals wasn’t strictly about competing. In addition to the determination and focus required to perform well, the trip included a lot of bonding. Sophomore member Allie Sharifi said, “We had an entire night dedicated to bonding but really the whole thing was such a great experience, and we all got even closer than we already were.”

Wiggins said, “We are together for four days straight. We do team dinners each night, and our seniors lead bonding after dinner, so there’s a lot of bonding. It’s a great tradition that keeps our team really strong.”

After Nationals, the team had only a few more basketball games they danced at.

“I can’t believe it’s really the end of the road for us seniors, but I’m so proud of the team as a whole and I’m really going to miss it,” Bosco said.

“I think our goal was to make it to finals, but we were really happy with how we placed,” Bosco said.

“Before we went on the stage to perform, we had one last time to practice, and everyone just zoned in, and you could feel it. The whole team was in sync and everyone wanted to nail the routine.”

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Dance team sets record at Nationals