ROYAL CITY — What does dedication look like for a high school student? For the Royal High School Dance Team, it means 6 a.m. practices four to five days a week. That dedication has paid off. The past two weekends, the Royal High School Dance Team has competed in both regular and district competitions.
“None of the girls on my team have any dance experience,” said Makynlee Miller, Royal High School Dance Team coach. “They work hard and can hold their own at competitions. There’s some really good teams at every competition.”
This year, the Royal Dance Team has competed in two categories - military and kick. Military routines emphasize being precise. Judges are looking for sharp, clean arms; formation changes and tricks.
“This is a good category for our team,” said Miller. “Military is about precision, execution, arms and formations. We are creating pictures on the floor and visuals for the crowd to see. There are a lot of different transitions. It is about how we move across the floor. I like military personally because there is a lot you can do with it.”
Kick is different. It is about showing off all the different things you can do while kicking.
“We do more like a drill team kick,” Miller said. “You are pretty much supposed to be kicking 75 percent of the time. You have to come up with creative ways to kick and do as many formations as possible that look cool.”
This is the teams first year competing in Kick. Currently there are only eight girls performing in this category versus the 12 that compete in military. Miller said that she wanted to start off with a smaller kick team.
When it comes to putting together a dance routine, Miller said that every team is different. Miller, who has been the dance team coach for three years, has called on the help of a friend who used to be the head coach for the Lewis and Clark High School Dance Team in Spokane.
“She has been our choreographer,” said Miller. “She has more experience. She’s the creative mastermind. Throughout the year, we work together to make changes. I send her videos to ask for her input. We work together to make changes to the choreography.”
When putting together a routine, coaches and choreographers keep the four areas that the judges are looking for in mind.
“They look at our technique,” Miller said. “There is team execution, which is what we look like as a whole. We are judged on the overall effect, which includes our music, costumes and routine. And there is content or difficult elements. There’s a lot they look at.”
Two weekends ago, the team competed in a regular competition in Spokane. In Military, they competed against schools from 1A up to 4A.
“Usually with dance, there are not a ton of people in our classification,” said Miller. “(How we are grouped) depends on who hosts the competition and what they want to do.”
For this competition, Royal City vied against 1A, 2A and 3A schools. They placed first in their division. When the scores from the 4A schools was added in, they placed second overall.
In kick, the team placed second behind Wenatchee and ahead of Meade and Lewis and Clark.
“They did really well,” said Miller. “I was impressed. They did well against big schools. A lot of bigger schools have dancers who come from studios.”
Dance teams go to four competitions a year and try to get a quality score of 195, which qualifies them for districts, which were held this past weekend. The Royal High School Dance Team were district champions in the kick category and placed third in military.
“We went against some really good schools,” Miller said. “This is the first year we have competed in two categories. We are going to state with both routines. This is the first time we’ve ever won anything at districts. It’s pretty cool.”