For the first time in almost 15 years, Marian’s Varsity Dance Team took the floor at The Heartland Events Center in Grand Island on Saturday, Feb. 20 to dance at the State competition.
Led by senior captains Ally Kmiecik and Taylor Nihsen, the team competed in the Pom A category and took seventh place. After weeks of dedicated practice, the girls’ hard work paid off. Preparations for State began during Christmas break, and the team put in countless hours to earn their place.
Coach Mrs. Michelle Delisi ’74 was thrilled to see the girls compete again after 10-15 years and is extremely pleased with the dedication of the team. “I am so proud of these girls and how hard they have worked in a very short amount of time. If any team can pull it off, it is this team,” Delisi said. The opportunity to dance at State meant extra practices, but the Varsity Dance Team was up for the challenge.
In addition to extra practices, the team’s spirit girls, juniors Bella Carollo, Mallory Grote, Allie Morrissey, and Laura Tatten, stepped up to the plate and choreographed a new routine with an upbeat Britney Spears remix. The dance was fresh, challenging, and incorporated a different technique that would eventually earn them State recognition.
Because the team competed in the Pom category, the famous kickline was not a part of the State choreography. Instead, the spirit girls included other challenging moves such as three toe touches in a row and a perfectly cleaned and timed ripple. “It was fun choreographing, but also a lot of pressure because we had a limited amount of time to make up a whole new dance,” Tatten said. Tatten said she is also proud of her team’s hard work and willingness to rise to the occasion.
Nihsen felt both nervous and excited about being the guinea pigs, because Marian hasn’t competed at State in a long time. Members of the JV team made the trip to Grand Island to support the Varsity dancers. They decorated posters, made bows, and cheered loudly to help ease their teammates’ nerves.
The moment the dancers took the floor, all of the effort became worthwhile. “I was very nervous, but when I stepped on the floor, hearing all the screaming made me feel better,” Nihsen said. Her first State experience is one she will never forget.
Marian Varsity Dance Team’s dedication earned them a well-deserved place at State, and it looks as though competing at State will be a new tradition. The girls now have one year under their belt, and this year’s experience will help the underclassman dancers as they pursue State in the future.