Kickin' It

The EHS dance team takes home two thirds and a fifth at the Gresham Winter Dance Invitational
by: Barbara Adams, The Estacada High School dance team placed third in the novelty category at the Gresham Winter Dance Invitational Saturday.

The Estacada High School dance team performed three dances at the Gresham Dance Invitational Saturday, and placed third in two-lyrical and novelty. They placed fifth in the jazz category.

But for the 11 members of the team, the competition was about much more than competing. It was the first time the freshman team members had performed the jazz routine in front of an audience, and it was the last Gresham Invitational for the team's five seniors, Beck Robinwitz, Mary Pyle, Erica Spainhower, Jessica Stein and Lindsey Taylor.

The day began in the early hours of the morning. The team met at EHS at 6:20 a.m. to catch their bus for Gresham. By 7:10, they were on the floor running formations and going through their routines.

The competition began at 11 a.m. Six members of the team competed in the lyrical category early on; in the afternoon the entire team took to the floor with their jazz routine.

'Here's the thing about dance,' said senior and team captain Mary Pyle, 'it's not like any other sport. If you see someone in the hallway, it's 'Good luck.' Everyone supports everybody else. When everybody is real supportive like that, it creates a lot of energy.'

By the time the hip-hop category hit the floor in the evening, all of the dance teams had loosened up and were in the groove. Between performances, dancers stood in the bleachers and on the gym floor and enjoyed the brief intermission music.

The EHS team performed their 'Singing in the Rain' novelty routine in the evening. By the time the competition was over and awards presented, the team had spent more than 13 hours there.

The team is coached by Lea Robertson and assistants Erin Hendricks, Kaila Gordy and Sharon Morrow. Robertson said the team's main goal was to score better than they did at their previous competition, a goal they met with a score of 63. 'I'm very proud of them,' she said. 'They competed against all 6-A schools, and against some really tough teams.'

The team will now focus on preparing for state qualifying competitions that will be held after the first of the year. The state competition will be held March 14 through March 17. They will also hold their annual EHS dance clinic January 13. It is offered through the Estacada Community School for students grades kindergarten through eight. Participants will perform their routine at an EHS basketball game.