By Ryan Kelleher
After relentless practices and hard work during the school year, the varsity Cougarettes finished their dance season with two top 10 routines at National Dance Alliance (NDA) nationals in Orlando, Florida on Saturday, March 3.
For their pom performance, varsity earned seventh out of 31 teams in the medium varsity division. Pom is an uptempo and quick pace dance which incorporates pom poms in the choreography. Previous to this year, the highest varsity ranked at nationals in the pom category was eighth.
“I loved how different the theme was for our pom performance,” Captain Lexi Almeido, senior, said. “We had a superhero theme with capes and masks. It was really unique and stylistic. We worked hard on the dance all year, and I am thrilled on how it turned out.”
To pay homage to the Las Vegas shooting, the team decided to dedicate their jazz routine to the victims of the attack . The performance track contains audio of affected students giving their first hand accounts of the shooting. The performance placed tenth out of 32 teams in the small varsity division. In the jazz category, varsity’s highest ranking in past years was sixth place.
“The Vegas Strong dance was a form of healing for me, my team, and the community,” Lauren Hirsh, junior, said. “When we were dancing, it felt like we weren’t only dancing for ourselves but for anyone affected by a shooting.”
Qualifiers for nationals took place in August of last year. Judges from the NDA who run competitions for high school dance teams, are sent to competing schools where the judges decide which teams qualify for nationals in March. This year was the team’s fourth consecutive nationals appearance.
“We were so excited when we found out we qualified for nationals,” Carli Meinert, sophomore, said. “At the same time, we were confident in our abilities and our chance of getting a bid.”
Tryouts for next school year’s Cougarette teams are in April. More information about tryouts and the Cougarettes can be found on their Instagram @coronadocougarettes.