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Tigerettes take second at OSAA competition

Lisa Yanagawa is on the Senior All-State Team, and two members win DDCA scholarships

The Tigerettes, Tigard High School's varsity dance team, took second place last weekend in the 6A Large Division at the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires Dance and Drill State Championships.

In addition, Lisa Yanagawa was named to the 2006 Senior All-State Team and received a Dance Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) dance and academic scholarship.

Seniors try out for the team in January, learning choreography and competing for a spot on the 20-member roster.

In other individual honors, Lori Herndon also received a DDCA academic scholarship, and Kelsey Cline placed sixth in the drill down competition.

This year, the Tigerettes' season was about much more than competitive dance - it was about breast cancer awareness.

As the team took to the Memorial Coliseum floor, the master of ceremonies announced, 'One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Tonight the Tigerettes dance their first song for those who have fought the battle.

'Our second song is dedicated to those who are currently fighting. And our final song is for those yet to fight. Tonight join us and be part of the cure.'

The Tigerettes executed a flawless routine with strong emotion that told three stories. Their technique throughout was exceptional, but what grabbed the audience were poignant moments that connected the audience to the story.

During 'This Woman's Work,' the final line is 'Just make it go away.'

The team left the center of the floor running with split leaps to form a large rectangle around the edge of the court. As the word 'away' was sung, they gracefully and forcefully push their hands from shoulder height down to first position, capturing the essence of pushing the pain away.

The third song has a line that says, 'I run for hope,' where the team ran, and on the word hope punched up the energy a notch with a tilt kick.

First-year coach Chase Gourley described the transition from those who have fought to those who are fighting as gripping.

'You could hear the raw emotion of the team as they cried and were joined by the audience,' Gourley said. 'At that moment they were focused on those they were dancing for.'

Each team member danced for someone afflicted with this disease and wore their person's name on their headbands as they performed.

Coach Dave McCall, whose mother is a cancer survivor, said, 'Somebody in the audience tonight will survive because we danced today. Somebody on the way home tonight will talk to their daughter, send an e-mail to a friend or call a family member about breast cancer, and somebody will live because they spoke.'

Head coach Linda Sheron added, 'The girls created a passion on the floor. The ending was so powerful.'

The team created the shape of the ribbon, which is the symbol of breast cancer awareness, as the final stanza 'I run for life' was sung.

'There is such a feeling of community,' Sheron said. 'Every one of us is touched by this disease. So many have shared their stories with us. The emotion and tears were shared by the audience and performers as one. It was an opportunity to be a part of something very meaningful.'