Canby's dance team seeks more show and modern titles in the upcoming winter dance season

SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER CHAFFEE - The Canby Cougars are riding a nice streak of momentum on the heels of a successful fall competition schedule, and look to take their success all the way to another state championship competition.

Canby has had a powerhouse dance team for the last several years. The team took first place in the state championship meet the last four years in a row in the show category and, if past is prologue, look to continue that trend going forward.

The teams results in the fall competitive season were incredibly promising. The Cougars took first place in three separate competitions in modern, small contemporary, and novelty categories. Canby has won the novelty category the last five years in a row.

"We qualified in all three routines and have been invited to compete at Category Championships against the best of the best in each of our categories," head coach Jennifer Chaffee said. "We are hoping to defend our Modern Championship for the sixth year in a row. We would also love to place in the other categories. There are some very talented and creative teams in the state of Oregon and it is always tough competition."

Heading into the winter season, the Cougars will begin to focus on their state routine. The team is the defending state champion and will look to reclaim the gold, and has the dancers to do it. Returning to the fold will be captains Josie Sheveland, Taylor Smith, Amanda Stephens, and Lauren Gerig.

Chaffee notes that there will be a variety of skills on the team, but expects the veteran dancers to be leaders for the newer members. SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER CHAFFEE - The dance team performed at a Portland Trailblazer's game as the halftime show on Nov. 13. The team has had a streak of success going back a half decade, and look to keep it going in the upcoming season.

"With 31 dancers on a team we have a variety of skill levels and experience," Chaffee said. "A few of our dancers have now been on the team for four years and have a strong understanding of our team's technique and style. Josie Sheveland, Taylor Smith, and Kyra Renner have all been on the team for four years. There are strong dancers from every class level on the team."

Just like the other team sports that Canby fields, the key to the dance team doing well is improving upon what is already there and learning new things along the way.

"The key to us doing well this year is to build on our technique and focus on what we do well," Chaffee said. "We have a professional modern dancer as a coach and choreographer and he has helped build this program to what it is today. Canby is the five time defending modern champion and the three time defending show team state champion. That can be a lot to live up to, and we talk every year about how the bubble will pop eventually, nothing is handed to us and we have to keep working hard to keep achieving what we want to achieve."

Despite Canby's dominance as of late, Chaffee still expects the competition to be fierce this year.

"It's hard to say who will win in our division," Chaffee said. "Show team has always been such a tough division, full of creative and talented teams with such inspiring themes and routines. We will do our best to be creative, innovative, challenge ourselves and leave the audience wanting more."

The winter competitions start in late January, and Canby will host a competition on Feb. 4.

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