February 04, 2023

Taking the stage

Newton Pacesetters Dance Team prepping for state competition Dec. 2

All of the hard work and intense practices are about to pay off for the Newton Pacesetters Dance Team as they head to state competition Dec. 2. The team will take the stage three times at Wells Fargo Arena for the Iowa State Dance Team Association 2023 Championships competition.

“We started preparing for our competition season right away in June, we attended Just for Kix camp this year in Storm Lake to learn technique, routines and bond as a team,” coach Graham Sullivan said. “Over the summer we learned our pom and jazz routines and we learned our kick routine this fall.”

At state, the team will compete in three categories: pom, kick and jazz. A couple of the dances have fun themes including pom as a “Drumline” theme and the kick routine will have the dancers doing their best Elvis impersonations.

To prepare for state competition, the team has been in the gym working several days a week. Each dancer has to know every eight-count of the routine, where their arms needs to be and where they are in the formation.

“We practice around 10 to 12 hours a week working on cleaning and adjusting routines,” Sullivan said. “Practice has been going really well this year, we are really impressed with how well this team has done this year, they are hardworking and positive and a lot of fun to work with.”

As state approaches, the team took the changed to attend critiques to help refine their dances even further.

“We attended State critiques on Nov. 5 and attended DTU regionals on the Nov. 19 as well as our soloist participated in a show to get their routines in front of a crowd on the Nov. 20,” Sullivan said.

Soloist will also get their chance to take the stage at state on Dec. 2 for the ISDTA solo competition.

With state only a couple of days away, Sullivan said she is looking forward to the excitement the time brings.

“The fun, the hard work will have brought us this far, when state week gets here it’s about the fun and excitement that the competition brings,” Sullivan said. “It’s about the team forming bonds with one another and making memories they will remember for a long time.”

She is also always impressed with the work the girls put in to prepare for state and each performance such as when they dance at football or basketball games.

“I would just like to reiterate as I always do about how hard of workers these athletes are. Some of these dancers have been dancing since they were two-years-old,” Sullivan said. “This isn’t just a sport where they go out, learn a routine and hope for the best, they have poured their lives into this sport and they don’t do so lightly.It’s more than just a halftime entertainment for them, it’s their passion, where they draw their confidence from and who they are as people.I am just lucky to be able to coach these amazing athletes and be a part of the struggles, joy and excitement dance brings.”

The Pacesetters will perform their kick routine at 1:09 p.m., soloist will take the stage from 2:40 to 3 p.m., Jazz will hit the floor at 4:40 p.m. and the final routine, pom will close out the day at 6:58 p.m.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com