EDWARDS — In August, when it’s hot and they’re exhausted from another three-hour practice, the national championships in Orlando, Fla., seem like light years away for Battle Mountain High School’s dance team.
But they know they can get there from here. They do it all the time.
The Huskies finished 15th at the National Dance Alliance’s national finals. That comes on the heels of winning Colorado’s Western Slope championship and finishing fourth in the state championships.
They’re a goal-oriented group, and this year’s goals were lofty.
“This year we were very determine,” said Abby Harrison, a senior and the team co-captain. “We set goals to win regionals, finish in the top four at state and place in the nationals. It was very rewarding to achieve every goal we set.”
Notice, if you would, that the goal wasn’t to make it to nationals. They’ve done that almost every year since 2005. Harrison and co-captain Melissa Law have been to nationals three times. This is the first time they made the final round, performing on the stage at Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando.
Hundreds of teams hailing from every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries compete. China even sent a team.
Impressing judges can sometimes leave them scratching their heads. This year it left them jumping for joy.
“You never know what the judges are looking for. It’s always an adventure,” Harrison said.
Long, wonderful season
“It was an amazing season for our young team,” said Kathy Thomason, the team’s coach.
Thomason had two daughters on the team, but they graduated in 2006 and 2008. She stuck around in various capacities.
She’s listed as the coach but says it’s a student-led team.
“It was Abby’s and Melissa’s determination and hard work that put them where they are,” Thomason said.
Sarah Thomason, one of Kathy’s daughters, does the choreography. Former Broadway performer and the Vail Performing Arts Academy’s Colin Meiring helps with technique.
The routines change with the skills and strengths of the team members, like most competitive athletic teams.
The season is long and can be grueling. They start with a summer camp, then train, perform and compete through March.
They practice three hours a day, at least five days a week — sometimes six. They perform for almost every human function and malfunction imaginable — football and basketball games, other high school events and events around the community.
“We do it because we love it,” Harrison said when asked the obvious question.
“Dancing has been a big part of our lives. A couple of us have danced since we were 4 years old,” she said.
Sometimes they disagree, as folks would who spend that much time together, but Harrison said they’re never, ever disagreeable about it.
“Our team is like a family. We are very close,” Harrison said. “It’s very rare that we feud. We’re all working toward the same goals and that makes it easier to get along.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.