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Hip-hop to the top

On Jan. 20, Huntley attended the IHSA dance sectionals at Jacobs High School to determine which top six teams will make it to the IHSA State Championship.
K. Nash
Members of varsity RDT mid-trick, wowing the crowd behind them with their dazzling moments and vibrant outfits.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Jacobs High School welcomed hundreds of dancers, family members, and friends alike to their main gym. The gold and brown school colors popped on bleachers and walls while the gym floor shimmered brilliantly, primed and cleaned for a long day of dancing. The long-awaited IHSA dance sectionals had finally arrived. After weeks of intense coaching and fine-tuning dances, high schools across the Fox Valley area sent in their varsity dance teams to compete in one of the most nerve-wracking competitions of the season.

Those invited to the competition included Jacobs, Hampshire, Cary Grove, Lake Park, and many more. At the end of the competition, Huntley’s Varsity Dance Team ended in seventh place, just one place shy of progressing to IHSA state and continuing their streak of consecutively making it in past sectionals, which has happened for the past eight years.

At 2:30 p.m. the excitement reached its peak: the bold and eye-catching red outfits strutted confidently into the gym. Among the crowd, proud parents pulled out their phones, friends of the dancers began to chant names, and all other onlookers whooped, cheered, and clapped for Huntley’s dance team.

The girls made it to their powerful beginning pose, clearly having practiced each intricate step hundreds of times. The vibrant red and touches of black on the girl’s long sleeve shirts and cargo pants drew the attention of the entire crowd. Everything was interconnected from the red shoes to their bold makeup of a rich, black lipstick and “tears” of red eyeshadow streaming down their faces.

“Huntley … your music is on.”

For a brief moment, screams erupted from the girls on the floor. Then, the beat drops and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley blasts from the speakers, immediately setting the tone for the team’s explosive hip-hop performance. The girls perform stunning tricks, dazzling spins, and impressive footwork in time with one another, all while displaying their endless passion and enthusiasm.

Despite not making it to the state championships, the girls on the team are still proud of their efforts and applaud themselves for a great season.

This dance team puts everything we have into our dancing,” junior Elaina Satalino said. “The season was full of many ups and downs and all-new changes we had to encounter, [but] overall, I am very proud of what our team brought to the floor.”

Some of those changes involved welcoming a new coach to the team, like Alexandria Reyes-Smith and Cadence Niccum. Niccum, having been a dance teacher and leader of Orchesis – Huntley’s all-level dance extracurricular – for the past three years, has much experience in the field and was thrilled to take up the leadership role in this new position.

“Ms. Niccum’s leadership was great,” two-year RDT member Isabella Garcia said. “She encouraged us, came up with some of our choreography, and helped get this team as far as we did.”

With the help of Coach Niccum, RDT placed high throughout the entire season, consistently ranking as one of the top teams at each competition. However, with the failure to reach state championships, many of the girls are reflecting on their experience and how they could improve for next season.

I think coming into every practice with a better dance mindset and trying to keep our stamina up even if we’re having a bad day will be beneficial,” captain Isabella Westberg said.

Despite not making it as far as the girls wanted to, they’re still proud of their achievements, grit, and hard work. As for the rest of the season, the girls will perform their hip-hop routine at each Huntley basketball game during halftime to entertain the crowds.

“The nerves that build up before you step on that floor can be hard to contain at times,” Satalino said. “But getting to experience that rush and be a part of such an uplifting team is worth so much more than what judges think of us.”

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About the Contributor
Carrie Willig
Carrie Willig, Social Media Manager
Carrie Willig is the social media manager for her second year in a row! It is her second year on The Voice staff. In her free time, Carrie loves to read, spend quality time with family, hang out with friends, and watch Disney movies. She’s so excited to make the 2023-24 school year another great year!

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