Three local dancers perform at 2018 Citrus Bowl
Three members of the Sparta High School Dance Team returned from Orlando, Fla. last week where they were among 450 talented dancers from 49 states to perform at the Citrus Bowl All American Halftime Show, where Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish defeated the Louisiana State University Tigers.
The entire dance team, consisting of 15 girls, attended a camp in Tomah back in August through the Star Performance Company for three days. On the final day an award ceremony was held recognizing individuals who put forth exceptional effort and exceeded throughout the week when senior Cristal Hernandez and juniors Jazmine Arntz and Haley Oliver were chosen to perform at the Citrus Bowl.
“They thought they had good attitude throughout the week and they had the skills to dance. They just had the total package that they were looking for to be put on the field,” Coach Tianna Pierce said. “This was our first time going to this camp and it was a complete surprise. We didn’t know they had this award at the end of camp.”
The girls held numerous fundraisers throughout the summer in order to collect funds to put toward the cost of the trip, which included one day at Disney World and another day at Universal Studios. What they weren’t able to fundraise, they paid out of pocket.
The foursome left for Florida on Dec. 27 and returned to Wisconsin on Jan. 2. While there, the girls would practice in the evenings. The dancers were sent a video of the routine prior to the trip to give them some idea of what they were going to be doing but on New Year’s Eve day they had a full nine-hour practice.
“They had an idea of what the choreography was but then they had four practices to put it all together,” Pierce said. “It’s very different learning over video especially when you get a big group of 450 people together.”
Hernandez said the girls danced for a total of nine minutes to three different songs at the show including, “I Will Survive,” Lean on Me” and “I Need a Hero.”
“I think it went really good. It was really fun to watch and they had a good time too,” Pierce said, adding that she was also chosen her senior year to dance at the Outback Bowl halftime show. “I think they gained a lot from this experience and I think they learned a lot about themselves too. They’ve only danced with each other so it’s a different experience for them learning how to dance with different people and putting this show together.”
Pierce joked by the end of the trip the girls were ready to come back to Wisconsin where they could avoid the crowds and sleep in their own beds. She added the hotel they stayed at also hosted the LSU football team.
The weather wasn’t cooperative with the group either. Hernandez said the state was not as warm as she had anticipated as the cold temperatures throughout the Midwest dipped into the peninsula.
“Florida wasn’t as sunny as I thought,” she said, adding she had never been to Florida before. “It was fun to see new things.”
Getting back into the swing of things, the SHS Dance Team will be hosting a competition starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20 with numerous schools in attendance.