Part 2 of our guest series following the startup team from St. Michael Albertville High School. Thanks to Andrea Doom, series author.
A first-year dance team heading to their first competition…what could be more exciting? The St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) Dance Team will participate in their first competitive event at Chisago Lakes (a AA state participant) High School on Monday, November 20. As a part of the Mississippi 8 Conference, the STMA Dance Team will participate in two kick and two jazz contests along with the conference championship in early January.
In terms of longevity, the Mississippi 8 is a relatively new conference. Formed in 2004, the original conference contained 8 teams, and was named the “Mississippi 8” because a majority of the founding member schools were less than 10 miles away from the Mississippi River. At the time, only five schools had competitive dance teams that included Big Lake, Buffalo, Cambridge-Isanti Monticello, Rogers. Between 2004 and 2013, the conference experienced a flux of schools entering and exiting. In addition to Becker (an original member) and Zimmerman, St. Cloud Cathedral also spent at least one season competing in the Mississippi 8 Conference. The STMA Knights Dance Team will (re)join the Mississippi 8 and face a far more competitive atmosphere than when they last competed in the conference during the 2008-2009 season.
Now made up of 10 schools (eight of which have MSHSL competitive dance teams), several characteristics make the Mississippi 8 Conference a unique one. Not only do the participating dance teams comprise two classes, they derive from a total of four MSHSL sections. Another distinctive factor; over 1,000 students separate the largest and smallest school in the conference. In comparison, the Central Lakes Conference (primilary made-up of outstate schools) has a smaller discrepancy using the way that the MSHSL determines school population. Unlike other conferences, there are also some differences in the level of teams that schools are fielding this season. While some schools in the conference are putting five routines (varsity, junior varsity, and b-squad in one or both styles) on the competition floor, other schools are limited to just a varsity squad.
FROM THE TABLE
The coaches of the STMA Knights Dance Team, Jen Klemmensen and Emily Fausher, feel that their team is excited to get out on the dance floor. While many girls have competed as studio dancers, none have had the experience of competing against another high school dance team. Unexpectedly (and excitedly), the coaches also saw a number of gymnasts decide to take their athletic careers in the dance team direction. Adding a bit to the nerves, the varsity jazz team will be the first (in order or performance) of the Mississippi 8 teams to hit the floor in their first conference meet on Monday, November 20.
FROM THE FLOOR
“As a team, the season is going great for us, so far. Everyone has been working so hard to get ready for our first ever competition. I think everyone will be very impressed with what we have to show. We have improved immensely and are here to put our name out there. We can’t wait to start!” Knights Dance Team Captain, Katelyn Hawkinson
“Going off of that, being able to compete for our school is going to be super exciting and new for us. It will be fun for them to see what dance team is about. These past couple years have taken a lot of hard work and commitment and we’re very excited to let everyone see what we’ve been up to!!”
Knights Dance Team Captain, Emma Pribyl
“We are all super excited to be competing in just over a week. Of course, our nerves are super high, as this will be a first ever competition as a team. We are really pushing ourselves to be the best and prove we are competitive. Overall, I am super impressed with all of our teams and dances.”
Knights Dance Team senior member, Abby Smith
School Population: 1,804 Students (9-12)
Total Number of Dancers (9-12): 36
Teams: Varsity Kick & Jazz, Junior Varsity Kick & Jazz, B-Squad Jazz, (they are also fielding a 6-8 Middle School Team)
Team Name: Knights Dance Team
Coaching Staff: Jen Klemmensen, Emily Fausher, Danah Blaha, Alexa Peloquin, and Kristine Wasik
Conference: Mississippi 8
First Competition: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ Chisago Lake High School (Mississippi 8 Conference Meet)