Why the Dance Team Should Be Treated Like Other Sports During COVID-19

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Coach Melissa Watson

The dance team cheers on the Oakdale Bears together.

Catherine Brennan, Editor

At Oakdale, the dance team is important to many people, specifically the athletes that participate and work hard together to perform their best at the Friday night football games. There is more to the dance team than just performing, however. There is hard work and dedication to an artform. 

 

“It’s given me the opportunity to be a part of something and be a part of something great, and understand the importance of teamwork and doing your part in order to help everyone else grow too,” explained Katie Lehman, a Junior on the team and lifelong dancer.

 

Despite all of the effort put forth by the coach and dancers, it is not recognized as a sport at Oakdale, which is impacting their ability to do what they love: dance as a team. 

 

When COVID-19 hit and changed everything, the team wasn’t able to hold try-outs, which typically occur in May, and things look drastically different than they used to. Before, practices were held on the Oakdale stage twice a week for two hours right after school. 

 

Now, practices are held over Google Meet twice a week for only one hour. The new practice format makes teaching and perfecting dances extremely difficult.

 

“It’s harder, if not impossible, to get specific and timely feedback on your dancing,” explained Senior Exia Stephens.

 

It isn’t just the quality of dancing, however, that has deteriorated with the impact of COVID-19. The dance team has been described as a “community” and “sisterhood”. They get to know others who share their passions and have opportunities to give service to the LOUYAA Poms teams through coaching, which did continue this year with proper precautions to ensure the safety of all who participated.

 

“Routines can be choreographed to fit the COVID-19 guidelines and keep everyone safe and healthy while still getting all of the qualities of being in-person,” said Lehman.

 

With the looming presence of COVID-19, parts of routines such as kicklines, which are crowd favorites, have to be cut. This doesn’t mean that in-person practices wouldn’t be beneficial though, as it would give an opportunity to be part of something and stay active. Masks and social distancing are possible, which is different from many other sports. 

 

Overall, the dance team would benefit from in-person practices, and would be able to do so safely. They deserve to be treated as the hard working team they are.