Eyeing a Championship
With the Kings’ Varsity Dance Team’s long season rounding out, the girls and their coach are looking back on big wins and looking forward to even bigger ones before ending the school year.
The program is known for the extravagant costumes and sets that accompany their stellar themed performances, as well as the seamless routines performed at pep rallies and basketball games. And while the Lady Knights may make it look effortless, students, parents, and faculty probably don’t know how much work, dedication, and most of all, time it takes to produce such a seamless performance.
“Tryouts start in the spring and we condition in the summer and fall, so that we are ready to perform in the winter season,” said senior dance team member Kelly Heitkemper.
Along with starting practices almost a full year before the actual season begins, sophomore member Emily Hovis says that the long hours can be hard to balance with school.
“Sometimes it can be challenging, especially with school stress, but it is a great outlet,” Hovis said.
And that stress pays off. At the JamBash Nashville Nationals on Jan. 31, KDT made their school, their coach, and themselves proud.
“Our team placed third in the Varsity Hip Hop category and 1st in the Varsity Pom category. We were named the Grand Champions for the entire dance session, as our pom score was higher than any other score across all categories,” said Varsity head coach Debra Smith.
This win means a lot to the team and to Coach Smith, who is happy to see the Kings name recognized.
“Kings Dance Team is relatively new in the competitive world, so this win helps to get our name recognized in the arena. Our athletes have worked really hard to improve technique and tackle some tough choreography this season,” said Smith.
Nobody on the team is taking this win for granted, and Hovis says it only motivates her to work harder than before.
“Winning grand champs in Nashville was awesome and it made all of our long hard practices worth it. It also made us want to work harder and take our routine to the next level,” Hovis said.
What is that next level? Coach Smith says she’s taking the team to clean up at another competition.
“We will be competing in the inaugural ECC Cheer and Dance Team Championship on March 23rd. We also received a paid registration bid to the US Finals in mid- April as a result of our win in Nashville,” Smith said.
But before that, Heitkemper is reflecting on her time spent with her team before she leaves KDT behind forever.
“I will miss the girls so much and spending time with my best friends doing what we love to do; dance.”