Best Of Show

Cheyenne Brown, Staff Writer

Three years have passed since the Griffinettes last performed in a competition while representing Winnetonka High School. Jitters were prancing across the dancers’ skin as they got into a competition mindset. Nine girls stood in formation, standing on the threshold of a new start. The Griffinettes were competing once more.

“I grew up in the dance competition world, but let’s just say it never gets less nerve racking. For my first competition with the Griffinettes this year, I was a bundle of nerves,” sophomore Haley Hanshaw, said, “but I was excited about it. I was so happy about the fact that even though COVID took a lot away from us. We could still compete as planned.”

The Winnetonka Griffinettes participated in the Lee’s Summit North invitational on January 23. The team registered in December and chose to perform one routine.

The dance team worked hard and pushed beyond their limits since the first week of November on an n minute routine to take their first steps back into the competition world. Out of the nine dancers, only one had previously competed on the high school level, senior Sophia Ferson.

“To say a word, it’s been super bittersweet. It’s been awesome noticing all their growth,” dance coach and math teacher Allison Maier said, “but it’s been tough because we’ve had so many limitations. There’s not many things that we can do that we can usually.”

Practices were held at Winnetonka in one of three gyms.

The choreographer came up with the routine and the coaches put the formations together. Practices lasted several hours while the team was in the process of learning the routine. The practices since then happen twice a week. During the hours spent in practice, the routine was not the only thing the team had to work on. They had to learn and review their game day materials including, but not limited to, their sidelines.

“Our coaches are proud of us no matter what we do. After every game they tell us we killed it; and my mom has never missed a game,” Ferson said. “She is so proud of me because I have been doing it [dance] for so long and it is my final year.”

With the support received from  coaches, parents, and peers, the dancers were able to push through the many obstacles they faced. The girls had to be quarantined during Homecoming. Maier describes it as

being “awful, we simply make the best out of every sticky  situation.” While in  quarantine, the dancers  held practices over zoom. They were even able to obtain a get ready video where each girl recorded separately and then each clip was stitched together. Their head coach  had to quarantine for a period of 20 days a mere few weeks before the competition. The dance team overcame many challenges and defeated all odds in placing third at the Lee’s Summit North invitational. The season may be over now but the team is still going strong. The next season will have loftier goals and tryouts are just around the corner.

“For people wanting to join dance, I say, go for it, ” Hanshaw said. “Learn new things and join the dance family. Meet everyone and they can become your lifelong friends.”

Tryouts for the Griffinettes occur on March 22nd-25th. For more information contact [email protected]