Winning Nationals and the Journey Back Home

Oh my god.

Can I get a yee yee for the boys?

13 years since the dance team was created, 9 years since they’ve started going to NDA, 5 days since winning Grand National Champion. When I tell you i’m still on cloud 9,000, I mean it. I haven’t been able to comprehend what has happened, every night I stare at the jacket and wonder if it’s real. Luckily, it is. People have asked me if i’m tired after it all. The answer is yes! I’m dying! An hour before writing this I was sleeping in spanish. So, I think that I should do a mini re-cap of these past couple days.

First off, dancing was painful at times. We all had to practice outside in 85 degree weather, underneath the blazing sun, while wearing black t shirts. A lot of us felt like dying, considering that we were used to 20-40 degree cold weather and we were not used to the heat yet. Luckily, the coaches always tried finding shadier areas to practice, maximizing our energy and making sure we didn’t get sunburn. It didn’t really work, my cheeks and nose were soon blushed with pink, but at least I wasn’t as burnt as some other people, their neck red and burning. We even practiced until 12 am the night before finals. At the end it was worth it since we ended up becoming friends with Davis County High School from Kentucky, really upped our endurance, and looked a lot cleaner and more in formation.

Now i’m not complaining. If we didn’t practice as much as we did, we would have been beaten from the other teams. And let me tell you, winning it felt surreal. The coaches were so happy, crying out of pure joy. Half of us didn’t know what to do and just cried. After we took our official picture, we ran behind the venue to get our jackets. We were sweating so much but we all just threw it on, shocked about it all. We then went to the balcony overlooking the lake before you enter the universal park. There, we did our famous chant and went to take picture with the trophy and banner.

The next two days were us just bouncing around the park, loving life. We were dead tired, but enjoyed our relaxing days. At 2 in the afternoon on Tuesday, we boarded our plane and got home. I didn’t expect anyone to be there, just the parents, but I was mistaken. As i walk through the door, i hear screeching. The Seneca Dance Team was there, same with Dr. Brewer! I looked like booty since i woke up maybe 30 minutes before that picture and video, but i was so happy i could have cared less. When I got home, I had my family waiting for me with open arms, balloons, flowers, and chick-fil-a.

The next day I didn’t want to go to school, but the coaches said they wanted to take pictures. Tiredly I went, still gassed and dazed from the busy weekend. We took pictures and they surprised us with Dunkin’ Donuts, candy from Seneca, and a standing ovation from the teachers! I was so shocked and honestly a little weirded out. I love the support and wonderful words said to me, but i’ve never been one to like attention. The whole day I was getting told “Congratulations!”. They played our routine on the morning announcements and I wanted to scream. Out of fear? Happiness? Who knows!

Of course this was kinda short lived. The rush and excitement is still there, but it is very died down. I’m stuck at school again, I have a Bio test tomorrow, I have to teach myself a chapter of geometry, and i am extremely tired. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We made Dominion Dance Team history, Dominion history, and most importantly, let our coaches get the jacket and trophy they deserve. It goes to show, the work is worth it, no excuses.

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DHSDT: What the yearbook won’t tell you

For 3 years now, I have devoted many hours to the Dominion Dance Team and it’s sister team in Seneca. Specifically, for the two years on the Dominion team, I have been asked many questions regarding practicing, schedules, and what we even do there. So i thought, might as well answer some questions.

How much do you guys practice?

We practice 5 out of 7 days of the week for around 2 hours each practice. Sometimes it extends by 1-2 hours depending on how much we want to get done and how close our competition is. Usually, we have morning practices at 6:35-8:30 am Tuesdays and Fridays, afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30-6:30, and Saturday practice from 10am-12pm. So on average, we spend 10 hours a normal week, 15 when we extend a bit. Again, this is rough calculations. This does not include what officers have to do, sometimes spending their whole weekend to help out the coaches for hours on end.

What about homework? School? Family? Friends?

We have a 30 minute study hall before afternoon practices and if you’re smart with dividing up work and spacing it out, your work will be easy. Of course we get stressed sometimes due to extended practices or homework, but we can always talk to a coach to meet a teacher or work a little longer on something. A big misconception is that we don’t have time for anything. We actually have a lot of time to finish things or hang out with people. Think of this, we’re only giving 2 hours out of a 24 hour day to do what we enjoy. When it’s thought like that, it’s really not that bad.

Don’t you get tired?

Well, duh. We’re not superhuman. We get worn out at times, mentally or physically. But, everyone on the team has a deep love and appreciation for the craft, so we push through it. Obviously if we are sick we don’t show up or take it easy. Plus, if we really need to take a mental day, our heads won’t get cut off.

Who’s the best?

Surprise, we all are! Everyone on the team has their own unique flair when it comes to dancing. There are no ‘bests’ or ‘worst’. It would be unfair for us to compare ourselves to each other since some people are trained in different styles. We all also come from different levels of dance experience. Let’s say someone is trained in gymnastics and studio hip hop for 3 years, while the person next to them was a ballerina for 8 years, and then the person next to them has never danced for team or studio, just at home in their room for fun. All our different styles merge to create a single piece that comes out looking amazing.

Dance is truly something else, the positivity and close-knit friendships we’ve made had allowed us to better ourselves even outside of dance. It has made me become friends with people I wouldn’t even imagine myself talking to. Not only that, but it has helped me become a more positive and thoughtful person. Trying out for the team is definitely something I will never regret.