Dance Team Reflects Over Nationals


Brad Brewer

After a regular season filled with victories and a second place finish at the State Championship, Bryant Varsity Dance had one final stop before their season concluded.

The dance team traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. for the 2016 National Dance Team Championship. The competition took place through Jan. 29-31. The team competed in the small varsity pom-pom division and the small varsity jazz division.

This year’s trip was the last senior Olivia Owen would take as a Hornet, but she did not let that affect her performance.

“I was looking forward to spending one last weekend with the girls on the team because they’re my best friends,” Owen said. “[But] I didn’t let myself get upset knowing it was my time to compete.”

The team made it to the semifinals of the competition and finished twelfth out of 42 teams, two positions shy of qualifying for finals.

Owen is proud of the way she and the team performed, even though they did not qualify for the finals.

“We were a little let down about not making finals,” Owen said. “We had amazing performances and there was [nothing] more we could have done. We went out there and did our best.”

Junior Sydney Bratton enjoyed the opportunity to bond with her teammates during the trip.

“[The trip] was really fun,” Bratton said. “I think overall, we kind of bonded because last year there were 21 of us, and this year there were only 12 so we could stay together a lot more.”

Bratton believes that she and the team performed to the best of their ability.       “I think we are all really happy with the way we [performed] because compared to the way we danced at State, our routines were good,” Bratton said. “At Nationals, they looked even better than what they did at [State]. We don’t know if we could have done much better, so we were pretty happy with the way things turned out.”

     Bryant Varsity Dance coach, Laura Wooten, did not let the smaller size of the team change the way she coached.

     “I didn’t have a [size] preference,” Wooten said. “Each year is special for me. The number isn’t really the issue. We choreograph each year for the certain size we have. But there are advantages to having a larger team and, of course, there are advantages to having a smaller team.”

     Wooten was proud of the team’s performance and improvements at the National Championship.

     “I was amazed with their performance,” Wooten said. “We were runner-up at state, and I was extremely proud of how the girls danced at state. But the girls seemed a bit down about not winning a state championship, and I was worried about how well they would bounce back. But they’re fighters, they’re competitors, and they danced really well. I was super proud of them.”

Even though they narrowly missed the cut for finals, Wooten could not have expected any more from her team.

“You want to be on top and you want to win,” Wooten said. “But everything I wanted them to do they did.”