Unleashed dance team finishes the season off strong


photo by Margaret Taylor

Unleashed varsity dance team rehearses before their winter show on Dec. 14, 2018.

Another season down and the Unleashed Dance Team finished with a flourish in regionals and nationals.    

On Saturday, March 9, the varsity dance team traveled to Seminole High School to compete in the regional championships, placing third out of 10 schools.

  “They announced our name and we all just screamed,” junior Ashley Smith said. “It was just a great moment.”

Because of this, the team is considered state champions. At the competition, the team received the judge’s choice award for hip-hop, as well as multiple technique and choreography awards.

The team performed four group numbers in the jazz, lyrical, hip-hop and pom categories.  Out of the four, the judges dropped the lowest score to find the average for their overall score.

The group has been working on the routines since the summer. They have also performed their dances early in March in the Student Choreography Showcase to further prepare for regionals.

“We have a show before regionals just to get it out in front of an audience, and then regionals is us getting ready for nationals,” junior Tatianna Ramos said.

 The team also competed in solos and duets. Sophomore Fallon Chapman and juniors Faith Hammack and Soomin Eum were the three highest scored solos in the 15-16 age group and senior Laura Perez placed second for 17-18 age group.

  At the end of the competition, the competition hosts have a Solo Showdown. Smith performed a duet with Rita Smith, a middle school student from Lawton Chiles, and placed first. Sophomores Nicole Beltran and Julia Squitteri also placed first in their duet age group.

  “I always tell them to go out and do your best, do everything that we have asked you to do, leave everything out of the floor and after that it’s up to somebody else,” dance teacher Diane Hasenbank said. “I’m super excited to see what happens at nationals this year.”

From March 21-23, the varsity and JV teams traveled to Dallas, Texas, to compete at nationals against schools from across the nation.

  The varsity team placed first in their hip hop and jazz routines, second in their lyrical, and third in pom. Right behind them JV placed first in jazz and lyrical and second for hip hop and pom.

As for solos, Perez got first place in the senior 17-18 category, performing a mix of contemporary and jazz to “Gimme All Your Love” by Alabama Shakes.

“I had so much fun performing my solo, and having the team’s support was a great feeling,” Perez said. “It was truly a humbling and rewarding experience for me.”

Freshman Lexi Smith received second place in the teen category with her lyrical solo, Eum also received second for her lyrical solo in the senior 15-16 category, and Chapman received fifth for the senior 15-16 category for her lyrical solo.

   Competitions are over for the season, but the team has one more spring show and will continue to practice on their techniques and skills as a team for next season.

   “The team was super pumped for receiving these awards, but something that was really important to us was knowing that we did the best we could once we got off the floor,” Perez said. “We were all happy and proud of what we performed and that was all that mattered.”