Dance team spins into season at Forté Showcase

Kira Sterling and Hallie Faust

Leaping, twirling, and smiling, the Viking dancers took to the floor Saturday at Homestead High School’s annual Forté Dance Showcase, delighted to perform against competitors with vastly superior reputations.

In the end, the Palo Alto High School dance team placed fourth in the Small Jazz division, as well as fifth in the Small Dance division and seventh in the Character division, which was just fine, according to senior captain Iris Hart.

“I’m definitely proud of what we did, but also we have a lot of things that we can work on,” Hart said. “It’s always good to see the videos afterward and hear the judges’ critiques so that next time we know what to fix.”

The dance team performs a spin during its Character dance routine. The girls danced to the song “Opening Up” from the musical “Waitresses,” which inspired the theme, costume, and props for their performance. “One of our main struggles has been facials, and having a Character dance,” senior captain Abby Cummings said. “I think we all improved on that and it pulled together for our routines, so I’m happy about that.” Photo: Kira Sterling

Amid preparations for performances at basketball games and the Winter Rally, the dance team barely had time to pull together its routines for the showcase on Saturday at Homestead High School.

“We didn’t have super high expectations just because we’ve been focused on football and later basketball … we were kind of throwing that together over the weekend,” senior captain Abby Cummings said. “So we didn’t feel that confident.”

The Viking dancers were not the only ones feeling the pressure of competition leading up to Saturday.

“At the beginning of the week, we felt kind of nervous because we were feeling like we didn’t have enough time left,” Coach Alanna Williamson said.

Freshman Sammy Yamashita and junior Olivia Ramberg-Gomez perform a leap during their Character performance. Their third performance of the day earned the team the “Best Concept” award. “We don’t normally place or come home with any awards,” Cummings said. “Getting the award … was especially surprising because we had so many setbacks with this dance and were probably the least prepared for this one.” Photo: Kira Sterling

However, the team pulled through, earning the “Best Concept” award for their Character routine.

“I thought that their jazz routine today was really really good,” Williamson said. “They always do their best when they’re in front of a live audience.”

Looking to the future, the dance team hopes to score higher at its next competitions, regionals and then nationals. According to Hart, the local competitions are always the toughest because the Paly team must compete against local performing arts schools like Presentation High School.

“They would not be in our division at nationals, so it is hard to compete against them in the local and regional [competitions] because they’re on another level,” Hart said.

Presentation High School’s dance team took home first place awards in the JV Dance, Small Jazz, Large Lyrical, Medium Jazz, Intermediate Dance, Small Dance, Large Hip Hop, JV Hip Hop and Character divisions. They were also awarded “Best Execution” for their routine in the Medium Jazz division.

The Paly dance team’s next competition starts at 8 a.m. on Feb. 9 at Monta Vista High School.

The dance team celebrates its “Best Concept” trophy during the awards ceremony. “In the last couple of weeks we put some more emphasis on our Character routine because we put off practicing it for a while,” senior captain Iris Hart said. “So it was really cool to win the award.” Photo: Kira Sterling