Veterans and newcomers set for state dance floor

Blaine, Spring Lake Park and first-timer PACT Charter to represent area dancers

PACT Charter School can add state tournament entrant to its list of accomplishments after the Ramsey charter school’s dance team qualified for the Class A state dance tournament.

The Pantherettes are one of five Class A programs to make it to state in both jazz and kick.

PACT Charter School’s dance team is the first program in school history to reach  a state tournament. The High Kick team captured the Section 2A title at Bloomington Kennedy High School Feb. 8.   Submitted photo

PACT Charter School’s dance team is the first program in school history to reach a state tournament. The High Kick team captured the Section 2A title at Bloomington Kennedy High School Feb. 8. Submitted photo

The school with less than 200 students won the Section 2A high kick title and was runner-up to Rockford in the jazz/funk competition under the direction of coach Erin Kruesi with captains Kelsey Field and Kasey Schweiger.

Kruesi is in the middle of her second season guiding the Pantherettes, 11th season coaching. The section title is her eighth overall and has taken five teams to state.

She helped coach Cannon Falls to two state kick titles and numerous finals appearances in both disciplines.

The section title was the pinnacle of a record-breaking season for the Pantherettes so far in terms of team scores and trophies.

PACT finally broke through to state after four consecutive finishes one spot out of the state-qualifying position.

“This trip to state was overdue,” Kruesi said.

They brought home titles at three kick meets and two jazz meets going into sections and earned academic all-state honors including senior Josie Burton.

All 12 performers compete in the kick dance without an alternate, cuts or junior varsity program to feed the top squad.

The routine, called “Million Dollar Girls,” is a mix of songs based around the idea of money and expense. “It’s a playful, sassy song where we just wanted to have fun with the ‘girl power’ aspect of it,” Kruesi said.

On the jazz side, seven of the top performers make up what the team calls the “small but mighty seven” according to Kruesi and perform to Imagine Dragons hit: “Radioactive.”

Kruesi described the well-known radio tune as, “an aggressive, dark theme with powerful, intense movements based in a post-apocalyptic setting.”

Bengalettes state meet streak reaches 15 

Blaine will be well-represented at the state dance meet again this season for the 15th consecutive year.

The Bengalettes qualified for both high kick and jazz/funk competitions after top-three finishes at the Section 4AAA meet at Elk River Feb. 1.

Members of the Bengalettes perform its jazz routine to “Tainted Love” during the Section 4AAA meet at Elk River High School Feb. 8.            Photo courtesy of Margaret Jones

Members of the Bengalettes perform its jazz routine to “Tainted Love” during the Section 4AAA meet at Elk River High School Feb. 8. Photo courtesy of Margaret Jones

Blaine tied St. Cloud Tech for the jazz title with its performance, “Tainted Love” with six points, followed by Brainerd in third place.

Tech edged Brainerd by one point (6-5) for the kick title with Blaine in third place with 12 points. The Bengalettes performed to the song “Heaven.”

Blaine captains are Dani Bayer, Karissa Bolton and Rylee Smeriglio.

Andover placed fifth in jazz and sixth in kick; St. Francis was seventh in kick and ninth in jazz; Anoka was seventh in jazz and 10th in kick; Coon Rapids was 11th in both disciplines among the 14-team field.

Blaine finished second in both disciplines to Maple Grove at the Northwest Suburban Conference Championships, Jan. 11.

Andover placed third in jazz and fourth in kick.

Anoka was fifth and Coon Rapids was ninth in each discipline.

Blaine won the four-team junior varsity kick competition and Andover JV jazz was runner-up.

•Spring Lake Park returns to state for the 10th consecutive season.

Spring Lake Park teammtes converge on the Bloomington Kennedy high school floor after winning the section jazz title.           Photo courtesy of Margaret Jones

Spring Lake Park teammtes converge on the Bloomington Kennedy high school floor after winning the section jazz title. Photo courtesy of Margaret Jones

The Pantherettes captured the Section 3AAA jazz title with the performance “Untamed” followed by Forest Lake and Henry Sibley. The same three teams also qualified in high kick, led by Forest Lake followed by Sibley with Spring Lake Park garnering the third and final state qualifying spot dancing to “Santa Maria.”

The Panthers placed third at the ultra-competitive North Suburban Conference championships in late December. Totino-Grace won both disciplines ahead of runner-up Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

The Pantherettes captains are Emily Loesch, Ashley Peterson and Sydney Page.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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