Dance Troupe Competes at Nationals

Lucy Sullivan, Opinions Editor

Lauren Pollock (11) dances at Nationals, March 25. Pollock performs a leg hold during her performance. Photo courtesy of Jane Valencia.

For the first time since 2019, Dance Troupe (WVDT) earned the opportunity to go to USA Dance Nationals. The team performed six group dances and three solos at the Walt Disney World resort in Anaheim on March 25 and 26, bringing two dances into the finals: large lyrical and small lyrical.  

Dance Troupe competed at five regional competitions this year, and all of their dances that scored an 85 or above moved on to Nationals. This year, all of their dances qualified, and they were able to perform in the highest division.

For the entirety of this year, Dance Troupe has practiced every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, all in preparation to give Nationals all that they had.

According to Lauren Pollock (11), the team has been longing to perform at Nationals for years. When the opportunity finally arose, they made the most of it. 

“Right when COVID happened, Nationals were going to happen the next week,” Pollock said. “We were really excited. We were all prepared and ready to go, [but] we didn’t get that opportunity. So I thought, ‘oh, I’ll get [to go] next year, I have a few more years,’ but then it came around, and we didn’t have it the next year. Getting the opportunity [this year] was huge for all of us, and I feel like we really took advantage of [it].”

Pollock performed a solo for the first time ever as a member of WVDT, on the National stage. 

“I’ve never done a solo ever for high school in my three years [of being on the team], so it was definitely really scary,” Pollock said. “But the support of my team really helped.”

Despite her nerves, Pollock said that she valued the experience of performing at such a high level, and she tried to take it all in.

“Nationals is very different from regionals,” Pollock said. “Because you go out there and there’s lights, so it’s like an actual stage [and] not just a gym floor. The first time out there, I was kind of just like, ‘Whoa.’ [I was] blinded by the lights. The moments when you’re on the stage fly by and you just kind of forget about [everything]. But I really tried to take in that moment with the lights and the crowd cheering and just being there with [my] teammates. It was an amazing feeling.”

For Jenna Wright (10), not only was this her first year attending Nationals, but it was also her first in-person high school dance season. After a competition of firsts and lasts, Wright described the relationships that she made as one of the things that she appreciates the most.

“We never left each other’s side the entire time,” Wright said. “At these competitions, especially at Nationals, [and] we’re sleeping in hotel rooms together, so I’m going to miss that closeness.”

Team captain Olivia Dawson (12) agreed with that sentiment, and said that as she reflects back on her four years with WVDT, she is eternally grateful for the friendships that she gained.

“Obviously take advantage of the dancing, but also take advantage of the relationships you make with people because [they] care about you more than anything,” Dawson said.

Dawson is one of four current members of Dance Troupe who has attended Nationals in the past. According to her, performing at Nationals this year was a satisfying end to her high school dance career.   

“Making our large dance in the finals was a really big deal, because my freshman year, that was one of the only dances that didn’t make it,” Dawson said. “And the fact that it was the whole team was amazing. [When] we all walked off, I could hear everyone crying, and then you go backstage and they have a big TV, and you rewatch [the dance]. Rewatching it with everyone, [and] just bawling our eyes out was like, the most amazing moment ever.”