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SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Team members Cheyenne Taylor, and Hanna Fry practice somersaults at practice. Before the championships this weekend, the team spent practice time adding new moves to the routine. The Scappoose Vision Dance Team earned sufficient rankings at the final regular season competition two weeks ago to earn a spot to compete in Category Championships on Saturday, Dec. 5, in Milwaukie at Rex Putnam High School.

The Vision Dance Team placed highly in pom and hip hop routines, earning third- and fourth-place titles at two of the competitions earlier this season; however, teams must earn first or second place in a certain category and earn a minimum score of 68 out of 100 points possible for the routine to qualify for statewide championships hosted by the Dance and Drill Coaches Association of Oregon.

During the Happy Feet competition on Saturday, Nov. 21, hosted at Scappoose High School, the team placed first for its hip hop routine and second for pom, qualifying them for the competition this weekend.

The 22-member dance team has been prepping for competition season since mid-October with practices three days a week for two and half hours. The team has been focusing on learning three routines in jazz, pom, and hip hop performances for the competition season, although the team has been dancing since August working on technical skills and small routines for school events.

Many students on the team said they enjoy getting to work together with other team members to perform fun routines. Committing long hours to practicing brings them closer together, several girls said.

Calysta Didier, a junior, said the girls on the team still make time for bonding activities outside of practice through planning events such as Halloween parties and dinner nights.

“You get really bonded and it becomes like a second family,” Daphney Sleightam, a sophomore, said. 

Coach Pam Didier said the team encompasses a mix of students — some have been dancing for many years, while others are new to the sport. She described this year as a building year for the team, where many members of the team are beginning to learn new skills and older members become more confident.

“I feel good we qualified during a building year,” Didier said. “It was a nice surprise.”

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Members of the Scappoose Vision Dance team rehearse their hip hop routine in the gym of Scappoose High School on Tuesday, Dec. 2. The team has been practicing for competition season since mid-October, with practices at least three nights a week. As the final competition of the season, the DDCA breaks the competitors into size ranges, rather than school size divisions. Didier said this can sometimes put the team in competition against a dance team that is much larger than its own. Still, last year’s Vision Dance Team took first place in pom routine, something Didier hopes the team will be able to repeat this year.

“I feel good because we’re pretty competitive, like we can hang with the big dogs,” Didier said.

Seniors Emma Agger and Hannah Austin said they are excited about the final competition this weekend.

“[It’s] kind of bittersweet. I’m excited to go to category [championships], but sad because it’ll be my last one,” Agger said.

At the championship competition this weekend the Vision Dance Team will compete against 36 other schools during the all-day event, which is broken into three rounds of competitions. The first round of competition begins at 11 a.m.

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