Oakdale Dance Team Competes at Nationals 


Melissa Watson

The Oakdale Dance Team at ESPN Sports Complex 

Catherine Brennan and Katie Lehman

At the end of January, The Oakdale Dance Team went to a national championship competition at Walt Disney World. The journey to Nationals began this past July when the team qualified at UDA (Universal Dance Association) Dance Camp. During the football season, the team focused on halftime routines to perform for all spectators attending Friday night football games. Once the season was over, it was time to focus on a bigger event: competing against some of the best dance teams from all over the country.


Preparations began in November where the team practiced after school. They all put in hard work to learn the demanding routine, it required teamwork and dedication. 


“It really takes the girls pulling together, to inspire each other, to keep going, and getting better. And once we’re there obviously helping each other keep spirits up, and again just working towards the best performance possible.” explained Coach Melissa Watson.


When it was finally time to go to Disney to show off their months of hard work, they were informed that they couldn’t use the music that their dance was choreographed to after a communication error. It was required that they used covers of the songs instead of the original artist, but they weren’t aware of that despite Watson asking weeks prior if their music was usable. 


Captain and Senior Julia Case professed, “It was very stressful because we have been practicing for so long on this routine as a team.” 


Case was responsible for finding new music, and luckily she did in time for the performance.  


The team pushed through the last minute change and headed to the mat with excitement, nerves, and were eager to perform. After all their hard work, they sadly did not qualify for finals that would take place in the following days. 


Those last two days in Disney were spent in the parks riding rides, visiting different countries in Epcot, and lots of team bonding. 


Although they didn’t win the competition, they still had a once in a lifetime experience where they made memories that will last. They went through difficult circumstances but managed to work through them as a unit. 


“We win and lose as a team.” Case assured.


The team was comprised of Freshman Maddie Wilkes, Sophomores Sofia Kutchi, Claire Coffey, Gwen Weeks, Kate Hollenbeck, MK Savage, Kaitlyn Stakes, Junior Exia Baber-Stephens, and Seniors Julia Case and Jennie Sheeler. 


The dance team had a great time at Disney and made memories that will last a lifetime. Team bonding, determination, and working together played a key role in pushing through difficulties and performing on the national mat.