“Our primary focus is just giving the girls the opportunity to do what they love — dance and perform,” head coach Kassandra Gibbons said. “This year, our team is looking to really focus on our development of the team mindset and coming together as one team while continuing to develop our skills. We obviously still want to be as competitive as possible, but right now, we are just grateful we get the opportunity to compete at all.”
Dance is one of the many sports where athletes have to wear masks this season as part of the COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Athletes across many sports have talked about being able to adjust to this as long as it means they can compete, but it certainly is an adjustment.
“I think the biggest question our team needs to answer is just what can we do to provide the best performance in this unique season?” Gibbons said. “A big component of dance is presence and facial expressions. It is even a component on the score sheet. So we will have to come up with new and creative ways to express emotion through only the upper half of our face.”
The team has four dances between kick and jazz that Gibbons feels is creatively choreographed. That choreography is led by the Alexandria dancers.
“I am excited to see these dances finished out on the floor,” Gibbons said. “Dance is really unique in that the dances are created by the dancers. I don’t think many sports can boast that their athletes are coming up with the plays for their team — but for dance, that is exactly what we do. I am amazed by the creativity of the girls this year.”
The Cardinals are ready to show those dances off now in competition. The first scheduled event is set for Jan. 15 at Monticello, with the Cardinals’ home competition scheduled for Jan. 22.
It’s been a challenging time through the pandemic in trying to prepare for a season that was interrupted, but Gibbons has been happy with how her athletes have responded as they get set to perform.
“The coaching staff and athlete leadership have created really interesting and creative ways to bring the team together,” Gibbons said. “We have done virtual technique practices, team scavenger hunts and games, and Wednesday Positivity Packs, an idea we got from Kathy (Walker), AAHS swim team coach). This has kept the girls going through the pause in sports. Many girls and parents on the team said that having these virtual dance activities provided a bright spot in their day that they could look forward to.”
2021 ALEXANDRIA DANCE
SENIORS – Anna Dokter, Maddie Holtz (captain), Caris Pass (captain), Kaelynn Okerlund
JUNIORS – Aleah Dokter, Heidi Carstensen, Greta Zenner
SOPHOMORES – Allie Trombley, Kya Burkey, Mya Stender, Ella Bartos; JUNIOR VARSITY – Marly Nolz, Sophia Anderson, Victoria Rounds, Nichelle Meyers
FRESHMEN – Kaitlyn Gimbel; JUNIOR VARSITY – Karis Knudgegaard, Vanessa Sampson, Maggie Anderson, Kaitlin Serie
MANAGER – SENIOR – Taylor Nelson
ALEXANDRIA DANCE SCHEDULE
Jan. 15 at Monticello, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 at Foley, 8 a.m.
Jan. 22 Alexandria Competition at AAHS, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Sartell, 9 a.m.
Feb. 6 at Rocori High School, 9 a.m.
Feb. 20 at Sauk Rapids-Rice, 9 a.m.