LCS dance team shines at state

Monday, January 4, 2021
(Photo Contributed) Members of the 2020-21 Le Mars Community High School Dance Team are, front from left, Addisyn Weiland, Kenna Kasel, Zoey Campbell, Katelyn Koster and Madison O’Brien. Second row, Savannah Manley, Ava Sitzmann, Brookelyn Britt and Lauren Rolfes. Back row, Emma DeRuyter, Hannah Albert, Grace Gerdes, Ryleigh Power and Anna Sullivan. Not pictured: Kayla Kellen.

LE MARS — The Le Mars Community High School Dance Team had a good showing at the Iowa State Dance Team competition, even with COVID-19 protocols in place.

Coach Katie Driggs said the competition, which is normally held the first Thursday and Friday in December, was moved to Nov. 17-19 to take place before Thanksgiving break.

“This was to avoid people traveling all over before the competition,” she said. “However, with the team’s best interest in mind this year, the team, myself and the school’s administration decided that sending in a video was in our best option.”

The LCS Dance Team competed in Class IV Jazz and Class X Pom this year. Classes are based on how many dances are in the category, going from smallest schools to largest. Each class ranges from 9-11 dances.

“They received a Division 1 Rating for both dances and a third place trophy for their jazz routine,” Driggs said.

“All awards were done virtually this year on Dec. 5. This was wonderful to enjoy it from your own couch and see all the teams rankings in all categories and classes,” Driggs said.

Members of this year’s dance team are: seniors, Hannah Albert, Zoey Campbell, Anna Sullivan; juniors, Grace Gerdes, Kenna Kasel, and Kayla Kellen; sophomores, Savannah Manley, Madison O’Brien, Ryleigh Power, Ava Sitzmann, and Addisyn Weiland; and freshmen, Brookelyn Britt, Emma DeRuyter, Katelyn Koster, and Lauren Rolfes.

There were a lot of things that needed to come together to make the competition happen this school year.

“They made as little changes as possible with COVID-19 to keep it as normal as they could. ISDTA (Iowa State Dance Team Association) spread the competition out over three days instead of the normal two. Teams were allowed to send in videos of their performances rather than compete in person if their school preferred that,” Driggs said.

State Dance Team is held in Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, where a large capacity of seating is available.

“In the beginning before the governor’s proclamation, all participants were allowed to bring more than two people to watch the competition and each team’s audience was asked to sit in a designated area to watch the competition. However, after her mandate before state (Nov. 17) participants were supposed to bring their two audience members and had to leave immediately following their team’s performance,” Driggs explained.

The ISDTA took traveling into consideration as it scheduled performance times, scheduling schools close to Des Moines to perform early in the morning and late at night to avoid any teams having to stay in hotels. Le Mars would have performed between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., if they had traveled to Des Moines.

As with all school activities, COVID-19 has changed the ways activities may take place.

“The girls were worried that they wouldn’t be able to have a season or any performance opportunities after we were not allowed to perform at homecoming,” Driggs said.

“Being able to dance together has been very exciting for them. They are excited to be at practices (most days) and to be able to perform; even if it is for a smaller audience. A lot of the upperclassmen were excited that video submission was an option to avoid missing any school.”

The dance team is able to perform at basketball games.

“We warm-up in a separate area from the main competition gym and follow protocols by leaving after our performance. Parents were unable to attend our first performance but were able to watch via livestream. The parents are now allowed to come to watch their halftime performance each week,” Driggs said.

The team members are diligent in following all protocols.

“Luckily, we haven’t had too many changes to our practices or routines this year. We make sure we wear our masks during practices and keep all formations 6 feet apart. We intend to connect our arms for a kick dance this year — the use of hand sanitizer before and after our performances will be utilized to keep all dancers as safe as possible,” Driggs said.

The state competition involves 235 high school teams which have the opportunity to perform in 15 different categories. There are also 17 college teams which compete.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: