Supported by her teammates, junior Julia Bogart dances her way to the top during the hip hop ensemble at the state competition in January. The Debs placed first in the Hip Hop category at the American All Star State Dance Team competition in Lafayette.
A new year – where the stakes are high and the leaps are higher – brought a new competition season for the Debs and Color Guard. While the Color Guard continued to prepare for their competition on February 4, the Debs had a successful weekend placing overall in State in every category they entered at the American All Star State Dance Team competition on the weekend of Friday, January 20.
The Debs Take the Competition by Storm
Gracing the floor with a technical routine, the jazz ensemble competes on the first day of competition in the Cajundome on Saturday, January 21. The ensemble ended up receiving an impressive 2nd place amongst many other Louisiana high schools that attended the state competition.
Elementary and high school dance teams from all over Louisiana gathered in the Cajundome to showcase their talent and hard work through solos, duets, ensembles and team routines. Although each dance ran for approximately two minutes, the teams put in months of hard work and preparation to get the routines to look pristine.
The Debs dedicated summer practices to choreography and training for the State competition but went full throttle after wrapping up the Brother Martin football season mid- November. All of their efforts went into preparing their routines for the State competition, where they would face school dance teams throughout Louisiana.
The Deb’s performances began with solos from junior Maddie McGovern and eighth grader Rylie McCluskey. McCluskey danced her way to first place while McGovern’s solo earned fourth place. McGovern joined sophomore Virginia Babin to compete in a dramatic duet that won first overall state, and McCluskey and fellow eighth grader Sasha Lewis performed a duet that placed second overall.
On Jan. 22, the Cajundome was filled with family, friends and alums supporting their team on the most intense day – team dance day. The Debs entered a high energy pom routine that placed second, a dramatic jazz routine that placed second, and a jaw-dropping hip hop routine that placed first overall in state. Click the link here to see the video of that first-place routine. (video credit – Andrew Collins)
“It felt amazing to see that all of our practices at the gym to perfect our headsprings for hip hop resulted in first place in State,” co- captain Alison Dupre said.
Just a few weeks later, the Debs went to Disney World to compete for the first time in UDA (Universal Dance Association) Nationals. The Debs’ jazz and hip hop ensemble earned a standing ovation from teams all around the country. Out of 72 teams, the Debs finished with the honor of being one of thirty teams to make it to semi-finals.
The Color Guard Brings the Heat
While the Debs were feeling the magic in Disney, the Color Guard was spicing up the competition in Lafayette. The team, who has been perfecting their routine, “Eyes on the Prize,” for months, competed in the category Scholastic Regional A. In the past years, the Color Guard has competed in the Novice division. However, due to their previous outstanding performance in ensemble, the team has moved up to the Scholastic Regional A division.
Since this category is more challenging, the Color Guard’s African- themed percussion routine brought complicated flag tosses, rifles and higher technique to the floor. Their first competition took place on Feb. 4 in Lafayette where the routine placed sixth out of nine teams.
Gathered for a team picture, the Color Guard poses in their costumes for their routine “Eyes on the Prize.” The award-winning routine is an African-Percussion themed dance that includes new and impressive tricks such as a split lift. The Color Guard will continue to compete with “Eyes on the Prize” as they make it closer Championships on April 1st in Thibodeaux at the Thibodeaux Civic Center.
The team’s second competition of the year proved to be a success. It took place on February 11 in Gulfport, and the routine placed third in the Scholastic Regional A category.
“I definitely see improvement with each competition we go to,” junior and team member Alexa Gonzalez said. “Moving from sixth place at the first competition to third at the second competition is a hopeful prognosis for the competitions to come.”
The spring is a busy season for the Color Guard. They are currently perfecting the same routine for their third competition on March 11 in Geismar at Dutchtown High.
With championships coming up on April 1 in Thibodeaux, the team is making sure that their routine is practiced to perfection. The vibrant yellow and orange costumes that flow gracefully on the custom performance mat were handmade by the coach, Mr. Frazier Walsh, for all fourteen of the members.
The Color Guard’s hard work is proving to pay off, and the anticipation for the upcoming competitions is high.
“I have seen so much improvement in the team this year alone,” moderator Ms. Caroline Boelte said. “I am really proud of the girls’ hard work and am excited to see where it takes us.”
– Claire Dinwiddie