Dancing for the trophy

On Jan. 8, Huntley hosted the Huntley Winter Invite competition for dance teams around the area.


Carrie Willig

As the judges decide on the winners, each dance team gathers in the middle and holds hands for good luck.

By Carrie Willig

On Sunday, Jan. 8, the doors to Huntley High School welcomed in floods of dancers, friends, and family to the east gym. Excitement buzzed through the air for the competition that was about to take place. The long-anticipated Huntley Winter Invite had finally arrived. The competition for various dance teams began at 9 a.m. and continued until 5:15 p.m.

Invited to the competition included schools like Crystal Lake South, Hampshire High School, and the first-place varsity winners, Lake Park. Huntley’s varsity team placed fifth overall, continuing their streak of earning the top scores at each event. The JV dance team won 10th overall.

To close the competition, Huntley’s varsity Raider Dance Team came out on the floor to perform their intense, upbeat hip-hop routine. Dressed in a neon orange top, gray cargo pants, a cropped black sweatshirt with eye-catching orange bands and their hair pulled back tight into bubble braids, RDT came to make a statement. 

As the dancers came out beaming with bright smiles and waves to the crowd, the gym filled with cheers, whistles, and shouts alike. The group of girls then heard the all-clear to begin their dance and jumped into it with passion and enthusiasm that carried throughout the two-minute routine. It was filled with dazzling transitions, in-sync movements, and impressive choreography, created by dance company TRIBE 99, that stunned the crowd.

Despite not earning a trophy at the event, dance team coach Alexandria Reyes-Smith was proud of her team. After being a member of RDT herself when she attended Huntley High School during 2006-2010, she knows just how much grit it takes to do one dance, let alone continue to learn new routines.

“The biggest difference [between this hip-hop dance and ones in the past] is that we normally go with a theme or concept. This time, we just have straight songs,” Smith said. “[Also], this routine is much more dynamic than routines [we have done] in the past. We have really challenged our dancers, which is what we want to do.”

The girls on the team were equally as proud of themselves and their performance, knowing they left it all out on the floor.

“I think [this team has a] willingness to work with others and just work[s] hard in general,” said Molly Miquelon, a senior and a four-year varsity dancer on RDT.

However, it’s not easy work. Not only did this routine take many hours of practice to nail down, but it also required a lot of effort to perform in front of a large audience. Luckily, the girls are used to it by now and can find joy in performing.

A gives you an adrenaline rush,” said Elaina Satalino, a sophomore and two-year dancer on varsity. “[Though it can get nerve-wracking] when you know who is in the audience.

If dancing and bonding over a shared sport seems interesting, don’t be afraid to try something new. Tryouts for the dance team are typically in the second week of May, with open gyms in April. Keep an eye out on @huntleyvarsitydanceteam and @huntleyjvdance on Instagram for further information.