Dance Team Season: The Process is Just as Important as the Prize

The Lady Lancers holding up their doubles L’s after making it straight through to finals for the pom category. (Brianna Rodriguez)

The 2022-2023 dance season was one with many setbacks, but despite all of the obstacles, the dancers managed to form an amazing bond under tremendous leadership that led them to place high in competitions. 

Ever since the first practice, nationals has been a highly anticipated event. The girls worked tirelessly all season and on February 9, they arrived in Orlando, Florida. The preliminaries were extremely successful with the Lady Lancers going straight to finals and winning first in their group. Overall they won fourth for jazz, and tenth for pom. This meant that the girls would have to push extra hard for the final competition that would be taking place the next day. They practiced and focused hard and were able to put out a very emotional and exciting performance. In the end, they placed fifth for jazz, and fourteenth for pom. 

An integral part of the success of the team both with bonding and training throughout the season was the captain, senior Paige Kohlhase. She took a role as big sister to the girls on the team and instilled motivation and seeds of hope in them all season. When interviewed with the Lancer Ledger, Coach Nicole Secor said, “Paige was a great leader for our team, especially with so many freshmen and sophomores this year, she was a great source of motivation and guidance for them. She gave everyone the push they needed to make this season successful!”

The dance team went to five different competitions before their nationals in Orlando, Florida. The season started off very strong with two first place wins for jazz and pom at West Milford High School. Being their first performance of the season, the dancers were extremely nervous, but proved that their hard work during practices paid off. The second competition took place in Ramapo college where the dancers won second in Jazz and fourth in Pom against amazing teams. 

After this competition, the coaches and dancers were hit with a huge shock. One of the dancers had an injury in her back, and wouldn’t be able to dance for the rest of the season. It was going to be hard to adjust to dancing without a pivotal member of their team, and most importantly a close friend, but the girls had to get to work quickly. They reblocked the number, changing formations and individual’s choreography to get ready for their next competition taking place in only two days at Wayne Valley High School. The girls were able to place in third for Jazz and fourth for Pom. 

During an interview with the Lancer Ledger, junior Keira Welsh said, “We had a really great season. We went through some tough moments, but that made us stronger.”

The dance team at their Hillsborough regional competition after winning against some of the best teams in New Jersey. (Brianna Rodriguez)

The next competition was at Hillsborough High School. The dance team placed second in jazz and fourth in pom, continuing to beat amazing teams and gaining more and more practice leading up to nationals. The last competition was at Pascack Valley, and the dancers placed third in jazz and sixth in pom. 

With the season coming to an end, and a senior graduating, there will be a huge hole in the team. Coach Nicole said, “We have a really solid foundation going into next year. We have so many talented young dancers and each one contributes something different to our team.” The future is definitely looking bright for the dancers, and they will surely leap high coming into their next season.

The dance season went by very quickly with practices starting in November; however, it truly started early in the year with choreography dates set in August of 2022. The choreography was taught over a span of three days, with the practices lasting three hours. However time consuming and tiring, the long practices prepared the dancers for their winter season. In the months between August and November, the dance team members were expected to practice and keep the choreography fresh in their brains. Throughout these months, they also held monthly fundraisers to raise money for team expenses as well as help with the cost of nationals.

The dance team on the day they left for nationals, excited to show how hard they worked all season and leave everything out on the floor. (Brianna Rodriguez)