QHS Jills thrill in Wenatchee dance competition
The Quincy High School Dance Team put on an entertaining show in its first competitive performance of the season at Wenatchee High School’s Purple Reign dance and drill competition Jan. 20.
The QHS Jills did not place but earned a score of 190, just five points shy of the 195 points needed to qualify for the district competition.
“This was their first competition and they did amazing,” Quincy head coach Alyssa Santos wrote in a text message. “They were up against hard teams and hard judges.”
Quincy competed against nine other teams in the Pom category, where teams perform a dance routine while holding pom-poms. Othello finished in first place, followed by Lakewood’s Lakes High School, Walla Walla, Hanford and Davis high schools.
Other schools also competed in three more categories: Military, in which Wenatchee finished in first place, Dance, in which Hanford finished first and Walla Walla second, and Hip Hop in which Othello also took first place, followed by Lakes and Hanford.
OHS also took home the award for highest overall score.
In addition to Quincy and the schools that placed, the event included Kennewick’s’ Kamiakin High School, Pasco’s Chiawana High School, Sunnyside, Royal and Ephrata high schools.
The Jills’ routine was titled Harley Quinn and the Joker and featured the team’s female performers dressed as Batman villain Harley Quinn, and the team’s lone male performer, Lucas Zepeda, dressed as the Joker.
The Jills have two more chances left to qualify for district, the Feb. 10 Edge of Glory event in Moses Lake, and their lone home date, Feb. 24 at Quincy High School. Districts are in March at Selah High School and state is at the Yakima Valley SunDome also in March.
“Now we work to clean up and execute the routine,” Santos wrote in a text message. “We will listen to the judges’ audio and make changes from there.”
In an interview before the scores were made public, Santos said she wanted her team to experience competition for the first time.
“It’s a totally different world than just performing at a basketball game,” she said. “There’s a lot more people, more kids and you get to see the other teams.”
The team is more than two-thirds new dancers, she said, and that plays a factor when learning a routine.
After their routine, the 23rd out of 30 in the Purple Reign program, the Jills shared high-fives but also shed a few tears.
“They have been working so hard these past two weeks, doing Saturday practices, getting prepared,” Santos said. “They have so much adrenaline getting out there, that when they come off, (they feel like) ‘it’s done,’ they went out and did it, so there’s a lot of tears.”
Dancers tend to focus on what went wrong after a performance, like dropped pom-poms.
“Of course you are going to have your mistakes and that’s a lot of it, too. They want to be 100 percent perfect and in this line of dance you are not perfect all the time,” she said.
The team has gotten stronger and grown closer, Santos said.
The road is steep, and it grows steeper at districts. Teams need to score a 210 to make it to the state competition in Yakima. But so far, the chemistry among the big group of girls and the one boy is good.
“They are there for each other more than they were at the beginning of the year,” she said.
In Wenatchee, the team looked focused, even when they made mistakes.
“When their faces go blank because they forget it, the judges go straight to that,” she said. “They smiled through everything and that’s all I could ever ask of them to do. Just keep smiling. Keep going, finish strong, and that’s what they did.”
Even when they dropped a pom-pom.
“Nobody noticed. I didn’t even notice,” Santos said. “And I know the routine.”
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com