The 2013-2014 Wildcat Dance Team had a very eventful and successful winter season, performing at halftime for all varsity basketball home games and traveling with the ball teams to perform at select tournaments on the road.
This year’s squad included seniors Katlyn Bolden and Alexa Rogers, junior Samantha Hafley, sophomores Shannon Ames, Brittany Brown, Emily Eaton, Kasse Fey, Heather Gahr, Abby Horsefield, and Katelynn Priest, and freshman Kristy Wiley.
“The season was a little tough this year with the number of cancelled practices due to snow days we had this winter, but I am still extremely proud of these girls because we still managed to improve our scores at competition and do well,” said dance instructor Melissa Albright. “Each year, the team continues to improve on technique, synchronization, and creativity with choreography to create entertaining routines for our audience. Each member of the team plays an important role in the collaboration of routines and performances; it is a team effort. Because of the dedication of the team, we earned perfect scores from our judges in choreography and general effect for the first time this year. This makes me very proud of my hard working team and excited to continue creating new routines that are fun and unique for next season.”
The squad’s main fundraiser each year is the Kiddie Kat Dance Kamp. This was the third annual dance camp for the elementary students. The dance team teaches the camp participants an age-appropriate routine and the traditional school song kick line to perform at a home basketball game. There were 81 elementary students participating this year. The funds raised from this helps the team purchase competition materials, including poms, costuming specific for routines, and other prop materials.
The dance girls competed at the Farmington Invitational, receiving first place in the pom category and second place in the kick line category. The St. Charles Classic is the largest competition, and this year CHS competed with 86 other schools. They placed fifth overall in the pom category, seventh in the kick line category, and fifth in the prop category.
“The pom category has always been a good category for the Wildcat dancers to compete in. It is all about precision-sharp arm motions, energy, and synchronization. We excel in all three,” Albright said. “This year, we added a twist to our ordinary pom routine by including a unique theme. Our theme was cops and robbers. Half of the team dressed in black and white stripes and the other half dressed as police officers. Our formation changes correlated with the changes in music and showcased the cops and the robbers, depending on the song in the mix.”
This was the first year for the team to compete in the kick line category, hoping to gain feedback from judges to learn their strengths and areas for improvement.
“We had a country theme with rhinestone blue jean leggings and plaid shirts,” explained Albright. “I couldn’t find black boot covers to go over the girls’ jazz shoes, so I took on the task of sewing them myself. At one competition, I even brought my sewing machine with me to make sure the girls all had identical costume accessories. The girls laughed and joked about how many coaches would cart a sewing machine along to competition.”
The girls also performed a prop routine at St. Charles, with a waitress theme, using cardboard trays and cups with Velcro on the bottom to attach to the trays when dancing.
“Last year was the first year we competed in prop, and it was a strong category for the Wildcat dance team,” Albright said. “We placed fourth at the state competition. This year, we had a really strong theme and challenged ourselves by using more than one prop. Our music selection was very eclectic, with a variety of genres. Because of the snow, we really didn’t get a chance to showcase this routine very much. We plan on continuing to work on improving and perfecting our choreography with the props and taking this routine to the state competition next season. The one statement repeated by the judges throughout all three routines was they liked it because it was something different. As the coach of the dance team, this is what I want to hear because it means our team stands out against the rest and brings to the dance floor something new and unique.”