Story by Zakiya Austin and Destiny White, photo by Debbie Gascon
On Saturday, October 22, the Dutch Fork Dazzlers attended the Fort Mill Dance Invitational to compete against seven other teams in their division.
“We did very well. Our team danced the best we have ever danced before. The routine was very clean and sharp,” said Junior Victoria Keschinger.
The team practiced hard for months in preparation for this competition.
“We worked really hard to clean and train so that our dances would look as best as possible. We worked together really well and used good partnership and communication while we were dancing. At competition, we hit all of our tricks and lifts in both dances so that was really good,” said Sophomore Emily Dale.
The Dazzlers took home a second place trophy and a judges award for best costume for their hip hop home routine.
“We gave our absolute everything on the floor. Our performance was great , and although I feel as though I could’ve improved in turns , as a team we pulled through and worked hard for what we got,” said Freshman Savannah Benjamin.
Those who watched, raved about the Dazzlers’ performance.
“This team came together and really gave an awesome performance of both dances at this competition. Their energy was high and the moves together were very sharp. They did everything well,” said Coach Ginny Haynes.
They received high scores for both the competed jazz and hip hop piece.
“We had good energy and synchronization throughout both the jazz and hip hop dances,” said Victoria.
Some girls didn’t agree with their placement and were confused about why the judges voted how they did.
“Of the teams that I watched perform I did not think that any of them were all that great because they were all sloppy and had low energy. This experience helped me grow because you can only hope for the best and you have to accept the final results,” said Senior Anyah Barber.
Personal growth and perfection of craft was a common theme when dancers were asked what they took away from the competition other than a trophy and certificate.
“This experience has helped me grow as a dancer and a performer because it had allowed me to push myself to make sure I do my best when I’m dancing,” said Emily.
Even though they didn’t win first place, each girl was strong in their opinion of the importance of competition.
“It is important to compete to have a goal to work towards, but it also builds a closer relationship between the team members,” said Anyah.
The overall improvement of the team and routines were high on the list of reasons to go to competition.
“When competing against other teams , they were outstanding and great competitors. I think it’s important to compete , not only just to win first or second place , but to have corrections and things you could do to better yourselves,” said Savannah.
This sentiment echoed from girl to girl as they reflected on their performance at the invitational.
“It is important to compete because it helps to get feedback on the dance routines to help us to improve. It helped me to really improve on my facial expressions and have high energy through the dances,” said Victoria.
Both Savannah and Victoria agree that the other teams posed adequate competition for the group.
“The other teams that we completed against also had strong teams but we were a lot cleaner and had more energy compared to them,” said Emily.
The pride in their team was apparent in each response.
“This experience not only shows that my team and I did amazing, but it gave us reassurance that we did so. We grew closer than ever and I love and cherish every single moment with them,” said Savannah.
A proud coach hoped to give her girls more than a dance experience at this competition.
“They are a huge part of my life in and out of the school walls and I am not just teaching them dance but hopefully I am giving them personal tools they can use for the rest of their life: teamwork, dedication, passion, respect, dependability, family, etcetera,” said Haynes, “I want them to look back on their time here in high school and have amazing memories. If I can help make that happen then I have been blessed.”