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Canby High dance team is off to a sizzling start in the short fall season, eyes category championships Dec. 4

The Canby High dance team is putting its mark on the Oregon high school dance realm with some top-level performances during its fall season. The Dance and Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) offers fall category competitions for Oregon dance teams, and two competitions in, the Cougars are 6-for-6 in first-place performances by the team. "Local schools can host the competition as a fundraiser for their program," dance team coach Jennifer Chaffee said. "Teams can enter routines in categories such as jazz, kick, pom, hip hop, novelty, contemporary and modern."

COURTESY PHOTO: JENNIFER CHAFFEE - The Canby High dance team is having a lot of success during a short fall season. On Nov. 6, the Cougars competed at David Douglas High School in modern, contemporary and novelty, and came away with first-place finishes in each routine. Additionally, Canby had five dancers place in the top 10 of the drill down competition: Novice Drill Down — Gracelyn Chaffee, Zoie Fulks, and Ava Coleman. Advanced Drill Down — Abigail Chaffee and Marissa VanHoose. Then, on Nov. 13, Canby competed at Adrienne C. Nelson High School in modern, contemporary and novelty. And once again, Chaffee's team earned first place in each category. "We had four dancers place in the top 10 of the drill down competition: Novice Drill Down — Ava Coleman and Patricia Campbell. Advanced Drill Down — Marissa VanHoose and Elizabeth Dula," Chaffee said.

COURTESY PHOTO: JENNIFER CHAFFEE - While the Canby High School dance team is having plenty of team success this fall, individual dancers are doing well in drill down competitions as well.

"At each competition, we see new teams and are judged by a new panel of judges," Chaffee said. "Scores do not carry over week to week. In-between competitions, we study our scores and comments that the judges give us and make improvements and enhancements to our routine and clean them up. At the end of the fall season, the DDCA hosts a Category Championship. In order to compete at the Category Championships a team must place first or second at a local competition and have a minimum score of 13." Canby has qualified all of its routines and will compete at the Category Championships at Sherwood High School on Dec. 4.  This year's Cougar dance team is coached by Jennifer Chaffee, James Healey and Jenna Jernstrom. Team captains are Abigail Chaffee, Elizabeth Dula, Olivia Coleman, Lexi Moore and Leslie Mendez. 

Nov. 20 - Reynolds High

At it's last tune-up before the season-ender on Dec. 4, the Cougars demonstrated just how formidable they will be – in December and then in March at the state championships. At Reynolds High on Nov. 20, the Cougars rattled off first place in Modern with a score of 17.78; first place out of six teams in the Small Contemporary category with a score of 18.83; and first place out of four teams in the Novelty division with a score of 16 points.

COURTESY PHOTO: CANBY DANCE TEAM - More hardware for the Canby dance team at a competition at Reynolds High School on Nov. 20.

Additionally, Patricia Campbell and Zoie Fulks placed in the top-10 for Novice Drill Down, and two more dancers – Abigail Chaffee and Lexi Moore, made the top-10 for Advanced Drill Down. "It's been so wonderful to be back practicing, performing, and competing again," said Chaffee. "Our team is 'young,' with over half the team being freshman and sophomores. Our underclassmen had never competed before this year, so that took time to get everyone back in competing mode.  "Our senior captains have been doing a wonderful job leading the team, encouraging their teammates, and setting high expectations for commitment, discipline, and work ethic," Chaffee added. "I was worried we would forget how to do all these things we haven't been doing for almost two years - but we didn't forget. The energy and enthusiasm at competitions is so high - everyone missed it - from dancers to families to announcers and judges. There is such a feeling of gratefulness and joy." 

Chaffee said that after Category Championships on Dec. 4, her squad will set aside its fall routines to focus on the state season. "We will create one routine for the Show Division and work on that until the State Championships in March," Chaffee said. "On Dec. 17 we will perform at halftime of a Trailblazer game - check our social media pages for info on how to purchase tickets and support your Cougar dancers. The coaches are all very proud of this team and excited to keep watching them grow and challenge themselves."

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