Dance team leaps onto the competition floor

Long before the school year started, the NPHS dance team was choreographing, rehearsing and perfecting advanced routines in anticipation of their competition season. Their first competition was on Jan. 17 at Esperanza High School, where they won 1st place in their small lyrical group and their POM dance. Throughout the rest of the year, the team will travel to different schools all over Southern California to compete in several different categories, getting scored on performances and technique. With West Ranch High School winning the grand championships last year, the NPHS dance team is looking to come back this year with a strong win.

Brielle Anderson, junior, is in her third year on the dance team. Although each routine is anywhere from two to three minutes long, Anderson knows how each dancer has to run on adrenaline all day long. “You wake up really early in the morning, you come to school and you get on the bus with all our costumes and bags. Most of the time you do hair and makeup on the bus,” Anderson said. “We compete all our dances and it literally feels like you’re running a marathon because they’re all like 30 minutes apart, which in hindsight seems like a lot of time, but it’s really not.”
One of the newest members on the dance team is Avary Hutchins, freshman, who is eagerly looking forward to their POM routine. The style combines cheerleading’s tricks and pom poms with the technicality of dance. “I love our POM dance. It’s really fun energy and we’ve been working really hard,” Hutchins said. “We work all year long to stage and make sure it looks good and like you’re actually competing against other teams instead of just like showing off.”

As much as the rivalry is fun between the different dancers from other high schools, Carolan believes in respecting their opponents and performing the best they can. “I try to teach the kids to not look at teams as rivals. We go out and do the best that we can do. We also appreciate, honor, and allow ourselves to get motivated by what we can learn from other successful teams,” Carolan said.
After hosting a competition last year on the NPHS campus, the dance team was able to host again this year, bringing in a very positive crowd with many supportive peers and parents to cheer on the dancers. “This is the second year we have hosted a competition at NPHS and I love it! It’s our home and I love welcoming other coaches, parents, and students to our school. We have received really good feedback about our competition being a supportive environment for all,” Carolan said.

Already having experience from previous competitions, Anderson feels especially excited about how well the team has done so far this year. “Our last comp we got fourth in a lot of dances, we got first for large hip hop, we got second for large jazz,” Anderson said. “As a team, I feel like we’re doing better than we did last year. There’s a lot of motivating factors for us to want to do better because we’re already starting off higher.”

After working hard year round, the team plans to continue giving it their all. Pushing through their competitions with positive energy, the team runs on the support they give each other and the drive to be the best at what they do. “I feel like this year our team’s energy has been high. Like, we know that we’ve worked really hard to get where we are right now,” Anderson said. “Even if it might not be how we want it to be, we’ll keep working really hard. During comp day, you just have to push it. You have to want it for yourself and your teammates around you…you have to scream for them so that they can give you energy back.”