Sports: I've been a dancer for 12 years now, the last four on the Sartell Sabre Dance Team.
Hobbies: I am a huge fan of art and the...
Dance team faces uncertainty
February 14, 2021
The Sartell Sabre dance team continues to face the harsh reality that we could be shut down at any time during the confusing and inconsistent circumstances that COVID-19 has brought us.
The dance team is probably one of the tightest-knit teams at Sartell High School. We are fortunate to have been dancing with the same girls all throughout our studio years prior to joining the high school team. Our best friends are the girls on this team. We’ve gone through thick and thin together. We hang out at practice, but more importantly, outside of practice. We are family.
Looking back at last year’s season, a season that left every girl with so much love and gratitude for such an amazing team, we never ever thought that would’ve been the last year full of consistency.
Something you must know about the dance team is we’re insanely superstitious. Everything must be the same year to year and if it isn’t, it feels like we could jeopardize losing the streak of greatness we are on.
From things like praying together before we compete because if we don’t, we are not centered in the deep love we have for each other and this sport, to the strangest things like, “I have been using the same hairnet all season, I can’t get a new one now,” or “I shower the night before every competition so I can’t go to sleep until I do.”
To add to that superstition, it is an unspoken rule on the dance team that you do not, unless completely necessary, mention the S-T-A-T-E word. If someone does, every girl gets a little frantic as we look around to see if someone is going to bend down and knock on the wooden floor to avoid the possible jinx.
We get hung up on the traditions and rituals that have shaped this team to be who we are today. We don’t want to do anything that could put our season in jeopardy or bring any risk to everything we have built ourselves up to be.
Now, suddenly we face a year where all of these traditions we hold so close, may not happen. This is a year where no matter how many things we try to get control of, the biggest threats are out of our hands.
Our head Coach, Kelly McCarney, started this team in 2002 and has been committed to sticking with us. We are her team. Her family. And she is ours. She coaches us the same way she coached her first year team. We are a team of consistency. This year doesn’t give us that atmosphere of certainty because we’re constantly having to adjust to new rules, teammates being in and out of quarantine, and never knowing if the next day is even guaranteed. That changes our once focused and consistent vibe at practice to one full of the continual stress of being shut down. Adjusting to that has been hard, but more importantly, we have all devoted a new level of love and appreciation for each day we still get to be together doing what we have a passion for.
The dance team trains all the way from June through February. When we started in June, we knew this year was going to be different, but that didn’t stop us from training hard and staying optimistic. We practiced the same we would any other year. We didn’t want to hold back from still giving this season everything we’ve got.
Then came our fall season. This was when it really hit us how much this year was going to be different.
Since the fall team is just a club, the school couldn’t supply us any practice space. That means that instead of practicing in gyms, we had no choice but to dance in our teammates’ yards. Since we didn’t have practice space, we could only practice three times a week at the most, in comparison we usually practice five times a week. With that, performing at our usual football games wasn’t even a possibility because their season got pushed later than ours.
Everything was messed up and nothing was the same.
Senior, Hannah Lalim, expresses how she feels about the changes in her senior year.
When November hit and all winter sports got put on pause, even that didn’t stop the team from training and fighting to be who we wanted to be. We logged onto our team’s Zoom call every day and did practice like normal. We stayed focused, persistent and although it was difficult, we did our best to remind ourselves of what we wanted to accomplish with this season with the hope that we would get one. At this point, we weren’t even sure if we’d ever be able to compete this dance. It was really hard to stay motivated, especially when our return date kept getting pushed back further and further.
Finally, January 4th came and we were all able to go back to practice. We were so thankful to be back together and we showed that through our attitudes and perseverance. Our motivation skyrocketed because we knew we would be able to compete and show everyone what we want to achieve with this season. We were given the exact thing we had been praying so hard for- our team together again, doing what we love.
We are fortunate to still be practicing together, safe and healthy, as we see teams left and right being quarantined, including our own JV team.
When interviewing with senior, Brooke Andel, she says her best advice for this particular season is…
As we look ahead with only 15 practices until Sections, we don’t take any day we have together for granted because we know nothing is guaranteed. We practice every day like it’s our last because we could, at any time, have an exposure on the team and say goodbye to everything we’ve been working for since June.
So here is to the rest of the season. One that will go down in history.
As a senior on this team, we take every single second as a blessing because our years and years of training and practicing was all for this last year. The year that we’re the leaders of this hardworking and driven team. The year that you look forward to all the way through high school because of all the small things that make it special. Moments that you only experience senior year. Things like senior recognition at our annual dance show, having the chance to be chosen for the All State team, and being at the peak of your skills and talents. It’s our last ride and so much of it has been taken away. We choose to be thankful for the small moments and we will not change our attitudes or work ethic no matter what happens.