Photos by Quinn Moss ’20
The WHS Dance team once again qualified for Nationals. With all the hard work throughout the year, their effort payed off with their exemplary results at both of their National competitions.
This year, the WHS Dance team competed in two national competitions, the WCE [West Coast Elite] Nationals Competition at the Long Beach Convention Center and the United Spirit Association Nationals Competition at the Anaheim Convention Center. These competitions took place over a span of four days, March 15-18, requiring a huge commitment of time and energy in order to be successful at what they love.
Usual competitions would last a whole day, but because nationals spanned four days, the dance team was required to stay in a local hotel to attend the entire event. The idea of spending an entire weekend with their teammates is a memorable bonding experience.
“My favorite part about Nationals is staying in a hotel because it gives you a place to go back to and relax in between dances,” said Taylor Nitzsche ‘20. “I also like the flexibility over other competitions. You get to decide where you want to go in your free time and it’s really nice, including real restaurants instead of food trucks at regional competitions!”
To qualify for both National competitions, competing teams are required to meet certain standards determined by judges after their performance. After meeting certain marks, teams are separated into different categories based on the level of their performance.
“So any team can qualify for nationals, but for each competition, there are two categories,” said Rilee Roberts ‘20. “At WCE, it’s silver and gold. And in USA, it’s open and championship. We competed for every dance under Gold, except two soloists, and every dance under championship at USA. For WCE, you have to score at least a 90 or above on your dance at regionals to qualify for gold. And at USA, you have to score an 85 or above to be championship.”
At each competition, there are both solo and team events. Both types of dances are scored accordingly to a scale consisting of choreography, execution, showmanship and technique. Dancers must perform a certain dance with definite precision and display their technique as vastly and skillfully as possible.
There are fixed sizes for each type of routine held at the competitions. There are solos [1 dancer], duos/trios [2 to 3 dancers], elite [4 to 5 dancers], small [6 to 10 dancers], medium [11 to 13 dancers], intermediate [13 to 20 dancers] and large [21 or more dancers].
“We competed solos, smalls, mediums, and intermediate dances at all of our competitions,” said Roberts. “Overall, the team did pretty well, but individually, at WCE, Madi McMichael ‘20 got 14th in the silver solo division and Ella Hosseinpour ‘20 got 14th I think for the gold division. And at USA, Taylor Nitzsche and I both were in the Top 15 super dancers, and Ella got 6th for solo champions.”
Because Nationals consists of dancers from all over the state, there are many competitive dance teams that are just as exemplary as WHS’ dance team. There are many different choreographies, styles of dance, unique techniques and the level of competitive attitude in the competition.
“For me, the most impressive thing I saw at Nationals was the solos,” said Nitzsche. “The girl who won overall at the USA Nationals was absolutely insane. Her control and execution of the choreography was absolutely stunning.”
Overall, the dance team competed exceptionally and expressed their skill significantly amongst the rest of the dance teams. They hope to continue their fiery streak of successes for competitions in the near future.