Dancers’ Precision Provides Key to Wins
With new choreography, Warriorettes, the Maine West dance team, is striving to step up their scores in their winter competition season.
The intense competition they face forces the team to make more realistic goals as it is very difficult to place first in the IHSA competitions. “Competitions are extremely, extremely challenging since the IHSA is so big. We could be up against 30 teams with 20-plus girls, while we only have about 12 on varsity, and only teams that place first, second and third get trophies,” varsity coach Anna Marchionna said.
IHSA competitions are tricky for another reason: the diversity of the entries. All the different genres of dance face-off in one category of dance. “We could bring in a hip hop team, but could be up against a lyrical dance team, which is different from when we used to compete with Team Dance Illinois (TDI) there would be separate categories for each dance.”
According to junior Alecia Corey, however, the high level of competition does not discourage the team from trying their best and scoring high. “Our goal is to get as far as we can in competitions,” Corey said.
The team looks at their performance scores from competition to competition and tries to outdo themselves. Their goal is “to increase our overall score with every competition since we know it is challenging to qualify for the first three spots. We don’t compare ourselves to other schools so much as to improve our own team and talent,” Marchionna said.
Based on previous performances, some tough teams to beat this season are Lake Forest—who tends to perform lyrical pieces, Maine South—with their kick or jazz routine, Neuqua Valley, Saint Charles, and Naperville Central.
Because each dancer has to have closeto-perfect technique, individual preparation impacts the overall performance. “The obstacle I will have to face this year is finding time on my own to practice our dances,” sophomore Kaitlin Mangan said.
Similarly Marchionna said, “The most challenging thing for dancers to do is having the self discipline to work on whatever you need to work on outside of practice, for example the splits. It is easy to work hard during practice, but taking the time outside of school to focus on one skill you need to improve on is important and challenging.”
By improving their techniques, establishing a strong, healthy relationship within the team, and truly mastering the art of dancing, the team believes they will be able to achieve their goals. “By working on improving our own techniques and being able to apply that and to help everyone else we will achieve our goals,” Corey said. She also said they will benefit by “staying focused during practices and working better as a team.”
A strong and united team is essential in sports, especially for dance because the team has to make sure that everyone is synchronized during performances in order to score high. “The most challenging thing is probably just learning choreography and making it look in unison while performing,” Corey said.
On the eve of competitions, the team is already anticipating the fierce competition and the long day ahead of them. “The day of competition, a 10 or 12 hour day, we check in early to make time to do hair and makeup, which is a part of the costume and takes time. It is a long day but I look forward to it,” Marchionna said.