Road to nationals


Katie Droope

The varsity dance team poses before performing their jazz dance.

Madalyn Dishman, Managing Editor

What makes a team? The answers from most are usually team work and dedication. However when on a dance team, you have to add the extra elements of talent, flexibility, discipline, and much more. The varsity dance team has been in full swing and taking these qualities into consideration as they begin to prepare for nationals.

While other sports at Utica stay in state, the dance team is heading down south to Florida to compete at nationals in February. This will also be the first time the team has competed at UDA (Universal Dance Association) nationals in over 10 years. The team qualified to compete at this event by performing a dance at their summer camp that took place in the beginning of summer.

“I feel like going to nationals will be a huge step,” coach Katie Droope said. “Going to Florida with all of these amazing teams will really help us make a name for ourselves.”

The competition season has just begun for these dancers. They began learning choreography for their jazz and pom dance in
August and their competition season runs until the beginning of February. Dance team had their first competition November 11 where they placed fifth in pom and seventh in jazz out of 11 nationally ranking teams.

“I expect us to come out bigger and better than ever before at the end of the season,” senior captain Kailey Johnston said. “I think this will help us really build up our reputation.”

A complication the team often faces is finding a place and time to practice. With many of the team members being involved in other dance programs, the dancers often have to hold practice in the cafeteria or practice on Sundays. Despite these setbacks, the team still remains positive and hardworking.

“I think that there is a lot of camaraderie between the 11 [of the girls on the team],” Droope said, “and I think that puts us ahead of other teams.”

As dancing at football games is over for the year, the dance team is solely focusing on competitions and basketball games. With only two other local competitions before nationals, the team will use these competitions as preparation for their performance in Florida. But for now, you can watch the dance team perform at basketball games and their two competitions in December and January.