We’re already at the mid-season point with the holiday break well underway. Debut season is over, as are many conference events. Don’t be fooled – the best is still yet to come! January is my favorite dance team month as things get interesting. Some teams will go dark while they work on season-end projects, while others will just start to make a move for the first time this year.
As is tradition at MNHSDanceTeam – I have pulled together an early season sections leaderboard. Of course, this is just for fun and speculation. This year especially -there were many scores that didn’t reflect actual “who’s-beating-who” results. In fact, many scores are going DOWN this year, instead of up which made it a challenge to choose the “best” score for each team. I tried to pick your scores after about December 8th. Everything before that was a toss-up with the new scoresheet in play. Open the Leaderboard PDF and let’s dig in to what on earth is going on. (your guess is as good as mine!)
Overall notes: Wow scores are going down across the board. Yikes! If you’re not seeing a decrease and just holding on – turns out you’re doing awesome. Scores after December 9th tanked across the board. 43 jazz teams all went down from early December alone! I’d chalk that up to “calibration” as judges saw what was really Minnesota average after we all got out there. I’m also seeing class A dive well into the 30’s for average scores. It’s not a down year- it’s really the scoresheet in action. We SHOULD see scores across Minnesota swing from 30s to 90s – it’s much better than everyone is 40-65. That didn’t tell me anything about your dancing if you didn’t win your event. I’m also very interested in the approaches everyone took to the scoresheet. I didn’t see this coming. I assumed more teams would cater to the scoresheet in a blatant fashion. Rather, I think there is a pretty distinct divide between those who I can tell used the new criteria changes, and those who expected the new scoresheet to serve what they were already doing. Conversations with other coaches leans towards – “we didn’t know what to expect so we played it straight”. Then there was the “carpe diem” group and so…………. it’s all over the place. State is gonna be apples-to-oranges type routines I’m calling that one now. I’ll be shocked if the results of major events in 2018 aren’t “contested”. Enjoy the journey friends!
Class A: Biggest shocker here is Aitkin appears mortal after all. Rival Cannon Falls earned their mortality stripes in AA, and they’ve been a gritty team ever since. Aitkin will take time to find its stride this year, but don’t be fooled. They’re still the best program in class A when you get down to it. Frazee will be one to watch this year as they need to find a way to move from good enough to win to true division leaders. Their ‘Hamilton’ kick dance is pretty innovative if you are lucky enough to see it. Anyone in section 1A or 3A can make a move at any time – I’d never discount a late surge from YME, BOLD, LQPV, St. Charles, Zumbrota, or Montevideo. Honestly, we won’t know until mid-January where things stand. Class A doesn’t really show its hand until after MLK weekend. I reserve judgement until then. In the hunt: Wabasha, Richfield, New Ulm Cathedral, Worthington, Canby, Crosby, Pelican Rapids.
Class AA: This division isn’t giving us much just yet as teams avoid any major matchups. Totino and Faribault have more in the tank for the end of the year (read: new dances), but Benilde might have a few things to say about that with their best program in years. Sartell took a character approach in kick this year, and they have yet hit on all cylinders. But who’s gonna bet against them? Not me. Orono remains my dark horse this year after last year’s crowd favorite routines. Austin will keep on their stride, look to see their scores creep up and by the Big 9 meet, we’ll know what they’ve got in store. In the hunt: Albert Lea, Kasson, Hermantown, North Branch, Waconia, Hutchinson, Alexandria, Monticello, Melrose.
Class AAA: Give AAA 10 days and you can see a whole new dance. That being said, we’ve got half a season left for teams to re-tool and make strides. Wayzata is in top form this year, they’ll have a good January to be sure. Eastview will likely go into seclusion to change their kick dance as is tradition, so hold on to see what they’ll do. Edina is continuing to grow their program, but I’m interested to see what out-state teams will do. Brainerd and St. Cloud Tech haven’t been huge early season players yet. I’d also point out that AAA has heavy conference schedules in December that keep them in their own little worlds – so once the mix and mingle happens next month, we’ll have a better picture. In the hunt: Burnsville, Chaska, Chanhassen, Irondale, Roseville, Blaine, Brainerd, Sauk Rapids, St. Francis