Talented senior class prepares for dance nationals

As basketball season nears its end, many Bearden students will continue to pack into the Dog House to watch Drew and Daquan go to work. At halftime of the game, though, Bearden High School’s dance team will always put on a show which seems flawless to all in attendance. These routines won them a state championship, which many Bearden students are vaguely aware of. What they are definitely not aware of, though, is how hard the team works or how great they have become on a national scale. As far as state titles go, Bearden’s best athletic team in recent years has been its dance team, and unlike most high school sports, dance has a national competition at which Bearden has continued to place higher and higher. “My freshman year, we didn’t even make it past semi-finals, which was good for Bearden back then,” senior captain Katie Goddard said. “But then every year we’ve made it a step closer. Last year, we made it to the finals, we even got onto ESPN, but that was only with one dance.” The 2010-2011 Bulldogs placed 12 th nationally with their jazz routine, but they didn’t clear the semi-finals with their pom routine, a loss they hope to make up for with a top 10 finish this weekend in both events. But pom or jazz, the routines take skill to execute on a nationally competitive level, something this year’s team has plenty of. “I want to say we’re the best we’ve ever been,” senior Hannah Slate said. “We have a really strong senior class over all, and we’re all really, really close.” The senior class consists of Goddard, Slate, Leah Pearl, Kylie White, Samantha Schriver, and Season Guffey, all six of whom are friends, creating a deeply talented, incredibly close senior class. “There is always like one girl in the senior class who plans to dance in college,” Goddard said. “This year, every single one of us six seniors wants to dance in college. “It’s really exciting that we want that and we all feel like we’re being called for that, but it’s also sad because we’ve been dancing together since seventh grade and every single one us wants to dance at a different school, pretty much.” As their college decisions near and their future approaches, though, these girls’ main concern is having something to look back on. “At nationals, we kind of like focus on what is going on right now,” Slate said. “You want to do well so you can say, ‘I’m on Bearden and we placed really well at nationals’.” The trip to nationals, after all, has not been a short one for these girls. Many of them have danced together for over six years. “We all hang out all the time,” Slate said. “Most of us have been dancing together since like sixth or seventh grade and so we’ve just been together so long that we know every little thing about each other.” While this bond is an essential to the team, it almost seems like a given due to the amount of time they spend together. “We’re always at Bearden,” Goddard said. “Last weekend, we were on Saturday from nine to three, then on Sunday from twelve to seven.” And while all this time and effort would load pressure to perform on most teams, Slate thinks the team can handle whatever place the judges give them. “As long as we dance well and perform well and are confident in ourselves, I don’t really care about what place we get,” Slate said. “I just want to live up there and love it.” This pure love for their sport seems to be what Slate and the Bearden dance team are all about. However, they wouldn’t mind returning to school next week ranked as one of the top 10 dance teams in America. Jacob Steimer is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.