Dance teams primed and ready for state

MARSHALL?- Kicking a little higher, turning a little straighter, area dance teams have fine-tuned their routines this week in preparation for the 18th Minnesota State High School League tournament for dance teams, which features squads from 44 schools. The jazz dancers will compete today and the high kick competition is set for Saturday at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Marshall head coach Amber Jans said the team has been practicing its choreography this week, making changes in movements and transitions.

“We feel confident,” she said.

As in the sectional tournament, the competing teams “are still close,” she said.

The Tigers are no stranger to state competition.

“Almost all of the girls have gone before, except for the seventh-graders,” Jans said.

The perennial powerhouse Yellow Medicine East dancers were jazz Class A champions last year.

“We have only four or five who have not been to state,” said Chris Nerdahl, the YME coach. “This is our juniors’ and seniors’ fifth and sixth trip to state. They know what’s going on. They are well-seasoned group.”

Still, a state tournament is always “nerve-wracking,” Nerdahl said, as well as being exciting.

YME is competing in both jazz and high kick.

Team members practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and made the trip to the Twin Cities Thursday.

“We didn’t change any numbers, just made them better,” she said.

The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton squad also practiced with an eye on the state tournament this week.

“We had practices this week,” said Sheila Fultz, the TMB coach. “Not too intensive though. We didn’t want to wear them down. Just some fine-tuning.”

Fultz said the girls were looking forward to the tournament.

“We hope to shine out there,” she said.

The Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd team is also in the state tournament this year competing in the high kick division.