The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats’ Dance Team competed in their first competition of the season for the NDA (National Dance Alliance) last Saturday.
“I receive varsity competition emails all the time and since KDCO (Kentucky Dance Coach Organization) was cancelled this season because of the pandemic, I decided that we should do this,” Wildcats’ Dance Team head coach Lauren Hall said. “I asked Coach (Matt) Wilhite if it was ok that we compete and he gave us the green light to do it.”
Since 1976, the NDA was built upon foundations of excellence, spirit and traditions. The organization continues to prove “The Work Is Worth It” by empowering young athletes across the country. The NDA strives to build not only strong athletes but great individuals.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had to compete virtually. The team filmed their dance routine last Saturday morning at the F-S Gym to be submitted to the NDA.
“Very excited to actually compete in a competition, even though it is virtual,” Makenna Delk said. “We had extra practices to get ready to show everyone how we can dance together as a team and to show everyone what we have been working on all year.”
“It was very difficult to film our performance instead of the usual performing our routine just once,” Julianna Whitney said. “We shot numerous times which means our stamina needed to be high. Plus, it is a blessing in disguise as if we messed up, we can start over and encourage each other.”
The pandemic created obstacles, not allowing the team to work together until recently.
“The dance we performed for the competition was our first team dance,” Jacee Cummings said. “It was really different for all of us. It was the hardest dance that we have competed with in the past.”
“We had to take time off due to the guidelines and the case counts were rising,” Emma Peden said. “During that time, we lost our stamina so when we came back, we had to regain that and I am really proud of how far we have come from the beginning of the year.”
Being a national competition, the team used a much different routine, one that they have never used before but it had pieces of other routines that the team previously used.
“Due to the pandemic, we couldn’t have our choreographer that we have used before come help us,” Eliza Cook said. “So Lauren Hall, Carrie Cook and Mercedes Duncan had to create the dance. They did great and we had a beautiful dance that I think we will score well.”
“The dance we filmed for the competition was a blend of hip hop, jazz and pom dances we have used in the past,” Taylor Harvey said. “Using those three dances to blend together was challenging. But the extra practices made us better.”
Due to the current situation, the team has adapted, grown closer together and has hopes to dance and perform.
“It has been a difficult, tough year with this pandemic. Because of that, we have come back stronger, more prepared and we love each other,” Annie Massey said. “We learned that we shouldn’t take each other and dance for granted. We were sad that there would be no KDCO competition this year but once we learned about the NDA, we were excited to compete and just dance.”
“I am really proud of them and sometimes, I get frustrated but I have to keep reminding myself that their bodies are not as normally as conditioned as they usually would be because of the pandemic,” Hall said. “I am proud of how far they have come especially when we could not practice over the spring and summer and started practice in September. We missed several months and the eight week break from November to January, it’s amazing to see how far they have really come together.”
The team will receive the results of their competition by the end of the month. They will now prepare to compete in the KHSAA Dance Competition sometime this spring. Regional and state competition dates or guidelines have not yet been announced.
The Wildcats’ Dance Team includes members seniors Jacee Cummings and Annie Massey; juniors: Eliza Cook, Taylor Harvey, Emma Peden and Julianna Whitney; sophomores Makenna Delk and Brea Farmer and freshmen: Kennedi Alexander, Cassadee Cummings, Leah Gardner, Noah Smith, Charlotte Vaughn and Ella Watwood with head coach Lauren Hall and assistant coach Carrie Cook.