Spirit Dance to undergo major changes

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Performers pull off a stunt in last years spirit dance competition. This year, the routines will take place on the football field and will have no maximum number of participants per grade. Photo by Cathy Rong.

Performers pull off a stunt in last year’s Spirit Dance competition. This year, the routines will take place on the football field and will not have a maximum number of participants per grade, according to ASB’s press release. Photo by Cathy Rong.

After many conflicts and issues with Spirit Dance over the past few years, the Associated Student Body at Palo Alto High School voted this week to change the format of the dances significantly for this year’s Spirit Week.

The most important change to the Spirit Dances will be the number of dancers in each grade’s dance. In previous years, students wishing to participate in the dance would audition, and from that group, five guys and five girls were chosen. This year, anyone will be allowed to sign up for their grade’s dance, and the minimum number of participants will be five guys and five girls. However, there is no specified maximum, according to ASB’s meeting minutes, which are posted online daily.

Similar to Gunn High School’s “airbands” dances, ASB hopes this new format will promote grade unity and inclusiveness, according to ASB President Claire Liu.

“Making changes to the old Spirit Dance structure and selection process has been a goal that ASB has been thinking about for a while now, but it has sat on the back burner until very recently,” Liu said. “It was definitely by no means a casual switch-up ASB just decided to carry out, but a very serious topic of debate that took up hours of class time and out-of-school brainstorming and debate.”

The new scoring system will be include one point given for each class member in the dance.

“Spirit Dance final scores will remain at 800 for 1st place, 700 for 2nd place, 600 for 3rd place and 500 for 4th place,” ASB’s press release states. “Classes will receive one point for each student that performs in the Spirit Dance. For example, a class that earns second place in the dance with 40 dancers participating would receive 700 points for 2nd place, as well as 40 additional points, resulting in a final total score of 740.”

Although some students prefer the smaller selected group of dancers for the Spirit Week dances, ASB is confident that the new system will bring out a positive change for the school, according to Liu.

“Both ASB and I emphasize, this is not at all an ‘unrealistic’ or ‘impossible’ change,” Liu said. “Gunn High School and many other high schools in the Bay Area utilize a completely inclusive Spirit Dance structure, and they pull it off beautifully.”

The leaders of these dances will be chosen by the respective class officers using an application system. Two to four people will be chosen per grade to lead their group’s dance, according to ASB’s meeting minutes.

“As a body, ASB realizes that the new structure of Spirit Dance will initially be more challenging in some ways,” Liu said. “But we believe strongly in the potential of our peers to find ways to solve these obstacles and create some amazing numbers.”

 

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