It’s likely you’ve seen them at football games and pep rallies, but what you probably don’t know is all the work that goes into the routines you get to enjoy. The La Follette Dance team has 14 girls this year, and they’re working hard to entertain and impress. They’re coached by Ari Kluesner and led by captains Anya Hunter (12), Lili O’Donnell (12), and Faith Stluka (12).
Their regular competition season starts at Oak Creek High School on Saturday, November 9th, and next they’ll compete on January 4th in Oshkosh. After that they will have regionals at Watertown High School on January 25th and if they rank well enough, they’ll move on to the State competition on February 1st in Lacrosse. For the upperclassmen who have seen the LHS Dance Team perform in years past, you should know that this is by no means the same team. “We’re getting a lot more student involvement. The dancers are choreographing a lot more dances and the captains are getting a lot more involved than before. We did the 80’s dance with different outfits, we have new poms, new uniforms, and we’re stepping up our game a little bit,” Anya Hunter (12) said. Dance team is no easy feat. There’s 4 hours of practice for football and basketball games, with a 2 hour practice for competition in a regular week. There are also added practices for competition dances throughout the season since there are two different routines to polish and perfect, poms and jazz. Performances are also a large time commitment and require lots of practicing outside of the set dance team practices. Many dancers on the team have their own dance studio they attend that have a similar weekly time commitment as well.
For centuries there has been a debate as to whether dance should be considered a sport or not. People see the artistic, performative side of dance and decide that it does not qualify for that reason. While there is a large amount of artistry and creativity that goes into dance, that doesn’t make it any less of a sport; it just gives a dancer more things to be thinking about while they perform.
The definition of a sport according to Cambridge Dictionary is “a game, competition, or similar activity, done for enjoyment or as a job, that takes physical effort and skill and is played or done by following particular rules”. By this definition, dance most definitely qualifies. It’s competitive, requires athletic ability and technique, takes hours of strenuous practice, and on top of all of that, requires the use of emotion and self-expression to make an audience relate and enjoy.
Next time you see the dance team perform, cheer loud and show how much you appreciate them, and make sure to come out to see their competitions! They’re working hard year-round to entertain and be the best dancers they can be!