Dance Team: Dance Team: It’s a three-peat sweep for Warrior Dance
Brainerd Dance wins section titles in jazz and kick Friday, Feb. 26.
FOREST LAKE — A loud eruption might have been heard about 4 p.m. at Riverside Elementary in Brainerd Friday, Feb. 26.
Authorities weren’t called to the scene, however, as it was just the Brainerd Warriors exploding with excitement after learning they swept both jazz and kick in the Section 4-3A competition earlier Friday in Forest Lake.
Brainerd traveled back home and set up in the Riverside gymnasium to hear the results. The athletes stood in a line like they normally do in a non-pandemic year and listened over a computer that they would be advancing to state in both disciplines.
“I’m really glad we chose to come together and do the awards at Riverside,” Brainerd head coach Cindy Clough said. “It gave the kids a chance to stand in a line. We haven’t done that all year. Every award we’ve done has been done over Zoom or we get the scores sent to us. It was really fun to have the parents watch.”
Brainerd jazz scored 419 points out of 500 to top runner-up Blaine by 15 points. Only one judge didn’t have Brainerd jazz as the clear winner and gave them a second-place rank.
“I was hopeful, but I thought it was our strongest performance of the season,” Clough said. “I thought we were really powerful with our timing. You can’t project much with a mask on, so we’re trying really hard to have it be in our force of movement and our upper body carriage. I thought we were going to be up there.”
Clough said with the timing and the nailing of the team’s turn sets it would have been hard to beat them, but she was concerned with the lower number of dancers compared to other teams.
“The issue we’re having right now is that we’re dancing so clean that when something is off it gets magnified,” Clough said. “We dance a smaller number than other schools, which did make me nervous. Usually, when you have more people you can camouflage things better. We only dance nine. We had one kid out quarantined. Our skill level is really high this year. The turn sets we are doing are extremely difficult.”
Brainerd’s kick scored 413 points to top second-place Anoka by five points. Brainerd scored three rank points as it scored four first-place finishes by the judges.
“This was pretty exciting because the total points are pretty close,” Clough said. “I’m a little surprised because I thought we would be further than that.
“We added a bunch of new choreography. A whole new section we added last Monday and it was quite a big chunk and it changed quite a big section of the routine and it changed their places on the whole end of the routine. I would say for the last one-third they were in different spots than they normally are. Monday, after we were done and I got home, I thought, 'What am I doing.' I had a sleepless night. Then Tuesday they came back. Monday night was rough. I could see some stress, but they really rose up to the challenge. I have a great group of kids this year.”
Clough said the changes were necessary in order to go “all out” and impress the judges.
“One moment I had today — when I think back it’s kind of funny, but it wasn’t at the time — but with all that changing of our routines I forgot about the minimum kick count. All of a sudden, I just went, ‘We haven’t counted the kicks.’ I immediately sat up on the bus. We started watching film and counting. The minimum is 35 kicks and I think we had 38 or 39. So there is one spot where Quinn Geraets is turning and she’s the only one turning so we had her stop early and do a kick. And she did it. That was a panic moment.”
There are no plans for major changes heading into the state competition. The top three teams in each division will advance. However, this year, teams will only perform their routine once. Class 3A will perform in the morning of March 12 and March 13. The state meet will be at Edina High School.
Jazz: 1-Brainerd 419, 3 rank points, 2-Blaine 404, 6 rank points, 3-Anoka 381, 9 rank points, 4-Sauk Rapids 359, 15 rank points, 5-St. Michael-Albertville 357, 16 rank points, 6-Forest Lake 352, 19 rank points, 7-Andover 350, 22.5 rank points, 8-Rogers 2350, 3 rank points, 9-Duluth East 339, 23 rank points, 10-Elk River 337, 26.5, 11-St. Cloud 296, 34 rank points, 12-Champlin Park 289, 35 rank points, 13-Coon Rapids 267, 39.5, 14-Moorhead 266, 41 rank points
Kick: 1-Brainerd 413, 3 rank points, 2-Anoka 408, 6 rank points, 3-Sauk Rapids 394, 10 rank points, 4-Blaine 375, 11 rank points, 5-St. Michael-Albertville 369, 14 rank points, 6-Rogers 352, 20.5 rank points, 7-Forest Lake 353, 21.5 rank points, 8-Duluth East 347, 22 rank points, 9-Elk River 340, 25.5 rank points, 10-Andover 342, 26 rank points, 11-St. Cloud 310, 33 rank points, 12-Champlin Park 280, 37 rank points, 13-Moorhead 274, 39 rank points, 14-Coon Rapids 267, 40 rank points
Next: Class 3A state dance team competition at Edina High School. Jazz will be Friday, March 12. Kick will be Saturday, March 13.