Area dance teams punched their proverbial tickets to the big dance, literally, at Target Center over the last two weekends.
Blaine and Spring Lake Park each qualified for the Class AAA high kick and jazz state competitions after placing among the top three teams at the respective section meets.
The Bengalettes wowed the Section 4AAA judges with their “Dance With Somebody” jazz routine to win sections, scoring better than St. Cloud Tech and Brainerd. Brainerd edged Tech for the kick routine title, while Blaine placed third with its “Storm” routine in the Feb. 2 meet at Elk River.
What made the jazz title even more impressive was how Blaine scrapped its “Dancin’ in the Rain” routine midway through the season. The change really paid off for coach Trina Develice and the squad.
“We typically don’t change but we felt we needed to go in a different direction to keep up with the top teams,” she said about a very strong senior class which helped keep the team strong all season. “Our team has done really well with this new routine and we are glad we made the changes.”
Two weeks between sections and state is a long time to be waiting to perform on the state’s biggest stage.
“It does get difficult with two weeks,” Develice said. They pass the time by watching video and doing team activities mixed in with plenty of practice.
“We are continually looking for little things to work on and fix because when you get to the state level it comes down to the little things,” she aaid.
The Bengalettes won the jazz competition at their invite out of 13 Class AA and AAA squads Jan. 5. They followed with runner-up finishes in both jazz and kick at the Northwest Suburban Conference Championships at Maple Grove High School Jan. 12. All-conference honors went to Karissa Bolton, Kassi Richels, Peyton Meade, Brianna Jevnager and Dani Bayer. Rylee Smeriglio earned honorable mention. Jevanger, Meade and Richels are captains.
Spring Lake Park placed third at jazz and high kick in Section 3AAA hosted at Bloomington Kennedy High School Feb. 9. Henry Sibley won high kick over Eagan, while Eagan tied Forest Lake for the jazz title.
The Pantherettes are coached by Jennifer Blaido and captained this season by senior McKaela Bormann and junior Emily Loesch.
The kick routine of “Shake your Tailfeather” and jazz routine “Somebody to Love” each connected with the judges as Spring Lake Park won two North Suburban Conference meets in addition to the Minnetonka Invitational Jan. 12.
Blaido said the squad is young but worked tirelessly to become, “a strong, united team. I think we are finally getting there now.”
Jason Olson is at [email protected]