By Reagan Hoverman
Throughout the opening weeks of December, the highly touted Prescott girls dance team began its season and started the 2021-22 campaign with an unsurprising goal of winning another state championship, which has essentially become a regular occurrence since the mid-1990s.
As is the same with many other past seasons, the Prescott dance team began its year at Menomonie’s Holiday Classic Competition. At the event, the varsity took home two firstplace trophies in Small Varsity Jazz and Small Varsity Pom. The JV squad also took home a first-place trophy in the Jazz category.
Although the Prescott dance team has become accustomed to winning state titles regularly, head coach Samantha Marks said that early in each season, the team still has nerves, just like every other dance team.
“There is always a lot of nerves associated with hitting the floor the first couple of times of the season,” Marks said. “These girls handled the pressure-filled moments with their chins up.”
Part of the reason that the team has been able to overcome the early-season nerves is because of the significant senior class, which Marks said has been critical to the success of the team over the last couple of seasons. If the dance team will continue its run of success, the senior class will be at the forefront of those efforts.
“We have a large senior class, along with a large freshmen class on our varsity team,” Marks said. “Our seniors have been fantastic leaders, preparing the rookies for what they will be feeling and experiencing before each ‘first’ of the season.”
Each season has a variety of firsts. The first competition, the first basketball game halftime show, the first postseason meet, all aspects that the seniors will have to help younger dancers get accustomed to.
“Our first basketball game performance, our first competition, they bring a sense of calm and a whole lot of confidence to their team and it has been extremely beneficial thus far in our season,” Marks said.
The most recent competition for Prescott was at the Prescott Dance Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 11. Because Prescott was the host school and was often dealing with logistics and making sure the tournament ran smoothly, they didn’t compete in any scored competitions. Instead, it was a chance to perform exhibition shows, which gave the entire team a chance to practice and perfect routines before other official competitions. Marks spoke about the Prescott Dance Invitational.
“This was our third invitational,” Marks said. “It became an annual event after we hosted the Western Wisconsin Conference Competition back in 2018. That day went so smoothly, we decided to make our own event happen annually.”
Marks spoke about the impact that the 2020 season had on the dance team. The COVID-19 public health crisis altered the season in ways that it had never been impacted before. Competitions were canceled and for the first time in decades, dancers didn’t get a chance to perform on a regular schedule. According to Marks, last season makes this 2021-22 season that much more special.
“Especially after last year, we are grateful for any and every opportunity to perform,” Marks said. “It’s especially nice to perform at our invite to get judges’ feedback – although we didn’t compete – and to perform in front of a competition crowd on our home turf.”
The Prescott dance schedule is much more of a sprint than a marathon. According to Marks, only four more official dance competitions are remaining on the schedule. Those dates include Saturday, Jan. 12, at Eau Claire Memorial. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Port Washington High School (JV). Saturday, Jan. 29, WACPC Regional Competition at Hudson High School. The final competition, pending qualification, would be Saturday, Feb. 5, at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse for the WACPC State Competition.