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Tom Mix, Published January 25 2013

Area schools head to state danceline competition

FARGO – This weekend is one of the biggest of the year for danceline teams across the state of North Dakota.

The 35th annual state danceline competition began Friday and wraps up today at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks with the finals in the jazz, high kick, pom and hip hop categories. Finals begin at 3 p.m.

One of the teams set to see where it stacks up with the state’s best is Fargo North.

“It’s been an up-and-down type of year for us,” North head coach Amy Pederson said. “We are not sure where we are going to place. Every time we have competed this season, not all of the teams from the state have been at those competitions.

“There is a lot of anticipation because we are not really sure where we’ll be at. This year, in all the different categories, we have been across the board. Either we have placed, placed high or did not place at all.”

Last season, North’s highest finish at state was third in high kick.

That happens to be North’s most consistent category this season.

“Our strongest category is our high kick routine,” Pederson said. “That’s the one that we have been most consistent in placing this year.”

West Fargo, Fargo Davies and Fargo South all field squads in the Class A division. There is also a Class B division.

West Fargo’s squad – The Packatahnas – is a three-time defending high kick state champions. West Fargo also won the pom championship last season.

Bismarck is the defending champions in hip hop and jazz.

Carrington swept the four Class B division categories a year ago.

The Packatahnas will have little time to rest following the state meet. The next weekend – Feb. 2-3 – West Fargo will be in Orlando, Fla. competing in the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championships.

West Fargo has qualified to compete in the varsity high kick and large varsity jazz divisions.

The opinions on whether or not danceline should be a sanctioned activity in North Dakota remain divided.

The North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill remains the governing body of danceline in the state, but there is support of it being a sponsored and sanctioned activity within the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

“There has been talk of danceline becoming a sanctioned activity,” Pederson said. “It is up and down with all the coaches on the feelings of having it sanctioned.”

The majority of those involved within the state’s danceline community like things the way they are.

North’s team is comprised of 17 girls. West Fargo’s squad is made up of 21 varsity dancers and the larger teams across the state enjoy the ability to practice and dance nearly 11 months out of the year.

Pederson said if danceline were sanctioned, it would mean more restrictions and designated time for practices and competitions.

But this weekend it is all about the task at hand, which is putting on a good performance and placing high.

“We have been spending a lot of time on our jazz and hip hop routines,” Pederson said. “Those were the categories that we were having trouble placing in this year. We put a lot of focus on those and making the changes that are needed.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562