Poms team performs touching dance routine

Anna McCormick, Freelance Reporter

Ella Ruston ‘20 and her teammate, Elizabeth Wood ’20, hoped to impress the judges by dancing the powerful message of the song “Praying” at their upcoming poms competition.On Dec. 2, the LT junior varsity poms team went to Gardner South Wilmington High School to compete in its first poms competition of the season through the Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA.) The teams competed against junior high, junior varsity, and varsity poms teams from different schools, Head Coach Brittany Knickelbein said.

“The competition [was] really fulfilling because we have been working so hard,” Wood said.

The poms team practice season started at the end of last school year, Knickelbein said. At that time, the team was only dancing at LT football halftime shows.   

Now, since a competition is coming up, practice has gotten more difficult over the past couple of weeks; the team has been dancing for the whole two and a half hours of practice, Ruston said. The girls run the dance full out every time, and are cleaning every eight count so that the routine is flawless and each motion is in sync.

The team has to work well together because of the difficulty in getting 16 girls to do every movement in unison.

“I think the team really cares about the dance, so if we keep working hard together, this dance will have a lot of potential,” Ruston said.

The team has been working extra hard in hopes it will be able to get first place, or a score to qualify for state at the competition, Knickelbein said.

“I strongly believe that the team is capable of doing very well in the competition. They have a physically and emotionally challenging lyrical/ contemporary routine that we hope after hours upon hours of practicing it will be perfect for the competition,” Knickelbein said.

The routine includes a lot of floor work with fast movements, Wood said. The dance along with the song tells a story.

“I love the song this year because it has a really powerful meaning and message so I think a lot of us will be able to connect with it,” Ruston said. “The choreography for the dance is also really unique, detailed, and well put together, so I love performing it.”

At the competition the team is performing in front of other teams, an audience and the judges, Knickelbein said. The dancers will not know who the judges and competition are until they arrive at the school.

“Every competition is a learning experience for the team,” Knickelbein said. “Although we hope to come out on top, the experience of performing in front of a panel of judges and other competing teams is more important. Several girls on the team haven’t danced in a competitive atmosphere so that is a learning and confidence building experience.”