Dance Team goes to Nationals

The Rochester Varsity Dance Team. Photo by Allie Mercer

The Rochester Varsity Dance Team. Photo by Allie Mercer

Mariam Hanna, Staff Writer

The pressure is on for freshman Eliza Farrell as she has less than two weeks until she heads to Orlando with the Rochester Varsity Dance Team (RVDT), coached by Allie Mercer, for Nationals.  After almost ten months of practicing, the RVDT is ready to take on Orlando.

“We are eighteen dancers strong!” said Mercer. “Both I and our team feels confident leaving for Nationals this season. Our routines this season give us an edge. With great music, costumes, and talented members, we are ready to take the Nationals stage.”

As the team is preparing for competing for the Nationals title, they reflect on how the 18 members have improved their dancing and grown as a team.

“Over this season, we have increased difficulty in our routines, adding in quad turns, multiple toe touches in a row, and head-springs to separate ourselves from the competition,” said Mercer. “[These dancers] have improved not only as individual dancers, but as a team. They are stronger than any team RHS has had.”

The RVDT is not a group of individuals who just happen to dance together, according to sophomore Emily Conley. Conley explains that they are much more. 

“We are like a family and united and we love each other,” Conley said. “I feel like [our bond] affects how we dance because we are dancing as a team and not as individuals, so when we dance together, we accomplish more.”

The RVDT had to overcome challenges and obstacles to place in the top three for both their pom and jazz dances at three different competitions throughout the season. One of the three captains, junior Kaitlyn Arnold, described the team’s challenges.

“Part of our struggle has been trying to keep the team motivated through all of our practices,” said Arnold. “There are some days where there are some of us who are really tired and we don’t necessarily want to be at practice, but as we are getting closer to Nationals, we have to keep ourselves motivated and push ourselves the hardest that we can. Really, we have just been trying to motivate each other and keep the energy up during practice, and keep everyone in high spirits.”

According to Conley, Nationals is beyond exciting, but being on a Nationals stage can make dancers nervous.

“We are excited to compete on a national floor in Florida, but the we are nervous because we wanna do good because it is our last time competing this season,” said Conley. “So, we just want to do good for ourselves and our coach.”

There are six freshman dancers on the RVDT. Farrell explains how being on the dance team can help you adjust to high school, and it could help you make friends.

“I actually had met many of [the dancers] before because a lot of them dance at the studio I dance at, so I kind of already knew them,” Farrell said. “I did not know them as well as I do now, but a lot of them I have grown closer too a little bit because they would always be in higher groups since they are older than me. [Being on the RVDT] is a really great way to transition into high school.” 

Being part of the RVDT not only helps the dancers improve their dancing, but also changes them as an individual.

“I feel like it has definitely helped show me different ways to improve myself,” said Farrell. “And getting corrections from a different person, like my coach, has really helped me improve.”

Arnold, Conley, Farrell and Mercer agree that the RVDT is a phenomenal way to meet new people, improve dance skills, have fun and be part of a team.

“Tryouts for the next season will be held in May, as they are only once a year,” Coach Mercer adds. “We perform at soccer, basketball and football along with competitions locally and at Nationals in Florida. Join a nationally ranked team next season and represent your school with pride.”