Since the rejection of a state-wide dance competition in March by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), the Facebook group of Kansas dance team coaches has been filled with concern about how to make their voices heard. They want to follow through with creating a state competition.
This disapproval acted as a catalyst in the formation of the Kansas State Dance Team Coaches Association, an organization most states already have.
The Facebook group was originally created two years ago so that coaches could communicate about borrowing costumes or advice on choreography. It has now transformed into a forum for dance team coaches’ to collaborate in forming the state competition.
Coaches were informed that the state was considering holding a state dance competition for all schools in Kansas and was looking for input on the idea from teams. KSHSAA sent a survey to schools asking if they would be in favor of the competition taking place. While East Lancer Dancer coach Alexis Close isn’t sure why, schools around the East area voted yes, but the state reported that as a whole, the results were not in support, leading the competition to be declined.
One of the main goals of the coaches association is to create a state competition for all of the schools in Kansas to compete at, categorized by school size. The coaches want the competition to be similar to cheer’s state competition, created two years ago.
Close says the association wants the state competition to be a “Game Day Competition.”
“With a game day competition you’re doing the stuff that you would do at a football game,” Close said. “You’re going to do sidelines, fight song and then usually like a one-minute routine.”
According to Close, the gameday competition will help level the field between schools. Some of the more rural schools in the state don’t have access to high level studios or have the same strong technical background other dancers have. The skills required for the game day competition wouldn’t require perfect technique, which would make competition even among all of the schools.
While East’s dance team would likely still go to Orlando for Nationals, other schools might choose to just compete in the state competition rather than flying to Nationals because state would still offer difficult competition.
Since the association became official on June 13 this year, coaches have been working with the state to create the competition. Craig Manteuffel, the KSHSAA Spirit Teams Administrator, expressed in an email response that KSHSAA has seen the coaches efforts become more unified in trying to gain a state competition and KSHSAA has been applauding their enthusiasm.
Lancer Dancers, including varsity member Lucille Winter, have been wanting a dance team state to compete against all the schools in Kansas.
“I think having dance team state would be a good idea,” Winter said. “Especially since we could compete in different categories like sideline and fight song which we normally don’t get to do.”
Close believes that the new association has come a long way and will be a strong addition for all spirit squads across the state.
“We’ve got so much dance talent and energy and willingness in the state,” Close said. “It just seems like there’s more we could be doing to bring dance the recognition it deserves at the state level.”