Splits and high kicks

MARSHALL – You’ve got to be flexible to make it in danceline, and the members of the Marshall High School dance team showed it on Saturday. In spite of some last-minute schedule changes at their home tournament, the dancers still did well, winning a trio of first-place trophies.

“It’s really good to know we won in all the divisions we competed in,” said Andrea Caron, a co-captain for the Tiger junior varsity dance team. An enthusiastic local crowd also made it special, she said. “It feels good to do your hometown proud.”

The Marshall High School dance team hosted its seventh annual invitational tournament during the weekend, with some changes to the competition. Several teams had to drop out, mostly due to illness, tournament organizers said. Among the teams that couldn’t make it was Willmar, the only AA school besides Marshall in the tournament. With no one to compete against, the Marshall varsity dancers could only give exhibition performances. However, the competition was still on for the junior varsity dancers, who performed in combined A/AA events.

Marshall would go on to win first place in the A junior varsity jazz competition, A/AA junior varsity jazz, and A/AA junior varsity high kick. Area teams including Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd also had a strong showing in the A division events. TMB dancers won first place in the A varsity jazz competition and fifth place in the A varsity high kick competition. Dancers from LQPV/DB won fourth place in A varsity jazz and second place in A varsity high kick.

Because ot the schedule changes, the crowd for the morning exhibition performances was a little smaller than Marshall team members would have liked. However, it wasn’t a problem, dancers said.

“It’s going to be bigger for the single-A round later,” Marshall co-captain Claire Buysse said.

“We can get our nerves worked out,” agreed co-captain Hannah Enderson.

That’s an important part of performing well, Enderson and Buysse said. Ideally, danceline members should know their moves so well that they don’t need to think about it.

Buysse said the team is looking forward to a good season.

“We feel pretty good,” she said. The Marshall dancers have also set their goals high, she added. “We want to sweep sections this year.”

The chance to perform for a hometown crowd was one of the good things about coming to the Marshall invitational, dancers said.

“We’ve got a pretty good crowd that comes on the road,” Buysse said, but more people attend the Marshall tournament.

“It’s the people who aren’t really related to us, who don’t know what dance team is,” Enderson said.

Marshall dancers weren’t the only ones pulling in a hometown crowd. Supporters of area teams like Lakeview, TMB and Canby-Minneota all took advantage of the shorter trip to Marshall. Lakeview dance team member Vanessa Schlenner and team captain Josie Lovsness said it was good to be able to have friends in the stands cheering for them.

It was pretty clear Saturday that feelings of support went both ways between dancers and their parents and coaches. As a surprise for the girls, Marshall dance parents ran into the gym for a performance of their own before the awards ceremony. They donned sunglasses, and even got a kick line going to the tune of “That Old Time Rock ‘N Roll.”

The audience cheered and clapped along.

“Even the dancers didn’t know they were doing it,” Caron said of the performance. “They (our parents) were laughing as much as we were.”

“We’ve got dedicated parents,” Buysse said.