The Paw Print

Dance team ready to rise to the occasion

The Cougarettes currently prepare for their nonstop winter competition season.
“We [had] tryouts October 22, so we still have to figure out our two teams and how big we are and making up and stuff like that,” said head coach Natalie Fisher.
The teams will compete similar routines they did last season.
“Our plan for both JV and Varsity teams is to continue to do jazz themes and dark jazz which is what we competed in last year,” Fisher said, “We will be continuing to work on technique while learning our routines and things like that.”
The teams will participate in multiple competitions beginning in December.
“We are going to five competitions, then conference, and then sectionals for varsity,” Fisher said. “Varsity’s major goal is to hopefully qualify for state again, like we did last year.”
The Varsity team qualified for IHSA state for the first time last year.
“Technically we qualified for the first time for IHSA state,” Fisher said, “Prior to that it had not been a formal Illinois high school sport. We had competitions but they were through private organizations, so this was the first time we qualified through the IHSA system.”
The varsity team placed 23 out of 30 teams at state and plans to improve this year. “We’re going to be improving by including more difficulty within our routines, so trying to include more intricate technical skills, like turns, leaps, and jumps, things like that,” Fisher said.
Junior Ariana Jimenez reports the girls are eager to further develop their skills
“I know a lot of the girls, have goals to do certain tricks, like to have a team triple pirouette, to have solid second turns and overall just to do really well,” Jimenez said.
Sophomore Peyton Toman and her teammates plan to improve on technique and dancing together as a team.
“As a team we plan to improve our technique and dancing cohesively as a group,” Toman said.
Khalia Callahan senior and former winter team member expects the group to grow stronger as a team.
“You get two seasons with this team, in the [fall] season, you’re just getting to know each other and I think during winter season the bond strengthens and get closer as a team,” Callahan said.
Jimenez has similar thoughts.
“As a team, we’re probably going to work on bonding and get to know each other,” Jimenez said, “It’s different age levels, and girls move up from other levels too so we need to get to know each other. Just as a team getting to know each other and becoming friends and just hanging out really, really helps our team so we dance as one.’”
The group will also continue to tell a story through their dancing and their routines and all say they are excited to compete.
“We’re always excited for the Minooka competition because it’s our first time out and we see a lot of people in our conference there, so that’s always exciting,” Fisher said, “We’re going to some new competitions this year. We’re going to Waubonsie Valley and then we’re going to Rolling Meadows and we’ve never been to those competitions before so we might see some new teams, or new schools, that we typically don’t see that much.”
The team is ready to continue their success at conference as well, with the JV team placing first and Varsity placing third.
Callahan recalls the most enjoyable moments from her time on the competition team.
“[The most exciting part of winter season is] probably going to competitions and spending the day with the girls, even if you don’t win,” Callahan said, “I think the most exciting part is getting to be there and seeing the other teams and just getting to be with your team.”
Jimenez expresses how the award ceremony is the best part of the competitions.
“The most exciting part [of competition season] is probably when we’re at the awards ceremonies during the competitions, and when you win to be honest,” Jimenez said, “We had a pretty productive season last year we did really well and honestly it was just amazing to put in all that hard work and actually receive results.
Toman feels the same.
“The most exciting part of competition season is the pride you feel when the team places well at a competition, because it shows how all our hard work has paid off,” Toman said.
Throughout the season, Dancing with the Cougars round two will be in the works.
“Another big event we will be doing again this year, that will happen in the spring season but we will be preparing for during our competition season, is Dancing with the Cougars,” Fisher said, “That will be our next big upcoming event.”
Dancing with the Cougars is a competition where students can put together teams to be advised by a cougarette then compete against each other.
Dancing with the Cougars will be coming this spring on Friday, April 5 2019.
Their first competition will be on December 1 at Minooka Community High School.

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Dance team ready to rise to the occasion