As the winter sports come to and end, the dance teams for both Juneau high schools ended with superior ratings at their regional adjudication, the highest rating, said one coach.
Both teams competed virtually, with judges evaluating videos of the athlete’s performances.
“The team had a late start this year, with the smallest team they’ve had since the very first season in 2010,” said Thunder Mountain High School dance team coach Jayce Wendling via email. “Despite their hurdles this season they’ve managed to have a successful year, performing a Pom and Hip Hop Routine on top of their Tournament Routine.”
The pandemic didn’t deter the athletes from their love of the sport, said Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé dance team coach Kayla Price.
“This year was obviously a challenge, but we are so thankful and fortunate to have been able to have a season at all,” Price said in an email. “The team started practicing back in July when there was still a lot of uncertainty about what the season would even look like.”
Initial restrictions were rolled back as the season went on and Juneau’s stringent mitigation measures allowed for more freedom.
“COVID definitely limited us, especially at the beginning, but we worked through it and ended up with a successful season,” Price said. “They worked really hard to learn five routines and develop their skills. It paid off when they were able to perform for in-person crowds at the basketball games in January and February.”
The virtual competition is unusual, but Price said it worked, congratulating other Southeast Alaska teams for their performances.
“Virtual adjudication definitely isn’t the same as getting to watch it in person, but we are so thankful to have had the opportunity to perform and participate in the Region V tournament! It gave us a goal and something positive to focus on this year through all the craziness and distance.
Each team graduated one senior this year, both of whom served as captains. Their coaches submitted comments for the graduating athletes.
“Aliyah Smith is our only senior and 4-year team member. She is the team Captain, and has done a phenomenal job holding the team together and leading them through this crazy year. She is extremely dedicated, hard working, creative, and is a talented dancer. We will miss her next year!” wrote coach Kayla Price
“We’d especially like to recognize our Senior and Captain, Shay Purvis, for her 4 years of love and dedication to the TMHS Dance Team,” wrote coach Jayce Wendling.