The Detroit Lakes Dance Team will have another target to shoot for this season after being added to the Northern Lights Conference, following many years of trying to find a home.
The Northern Lights Conference is made up of Mid-State teams (Staples-Motley, Wadena-Deer Creek, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes and Park Rapids), along with several other northern schools.
The conference championship will be decided by preliminary meets for both Jazz and Kick, with the final meet in each in January, with scores from all events added up to determine the victor.
“We’re very excited for the additional level of competition and recognition being in a conference will bring,” said DL head coach Britton Ramsey.
Another change in the dance team world will be the state meet process, which will enact more of a playoff format to resemble other sports in the state.
The Minnesota Association of Dance Teams passed a bracket format for the state meet, but it has yet to be passed by the MSHSL.
Potentially starting next season, the state meet will have the top six teams advancing from the sections to a head-to-head matchup bracket.
The match ups will be based on coaching seeding.
With changes looming in the air for dance team competition, the Lakers will also be in the midst of some changes, as well.
“We lost four seniors last year in addition to some turnover, so this year is a rebuilding year for us,” Ramsey said. “We have seven returning varsity members out of 22 on the kick team this year. We had bigger numbers coming out as a whole, a lot of interest from the younger girls to be involved.
“We are rostering 22 for varsity and 20 for junior varsity, but largely inexperienced. Our focus is to create a positive atmosphere for the rookies so they can grow with our program.”
The Lakers will have one senior and second-year captain Karissa Berg to lead this year’s team.
Berg will bring the hard-work mentality to the younger dancers and will be helped by a solid group of juniors.
“(Juniors) Kalley Waller and Megan Vogt are two of our best kickers on the team,” Ramsey said. “Other dancers back that we expect big things from are sophomores Sadie Boeckel, Tatum Doppler and freshman Maddie Ramsey.
“We have junior Hanna Vogt and sophomore Ally Rousu back from taking a year off, and they add a lot of talent to our team. We have a lot of ability within our rookies this year, which is really exciting to watch them push themselves.”
The Lakers will be employing a “fun, positive atmosphere” and will go with a hip-hop theme for the high kick team.
“It’s a crowd pleaser by design, rather than choreographing something based off points from a score sheet,” Ramsey added.
“We want people to want to watch us, and be a part of what our teams are doing.”
The Jazz team will employ a lyrical style with a love story theme.
“The emotional element is key, in addition to hitting all the skills,” Ramsey said. “We really want to draw our audience in to the story we’re telling so the dancers have to try to connect emotionally to the song.”
With the good team chemistry and dedication which is being shown by the Lakers, hitting the details will be key to progress through the season.
With the themes fitting each team well and the dancers hopefully connecting with the routines, the rebuilding process could be a quick procedure.
“We need to work on awareness of our placement and the technical elements of our choreography,” Ramsey included. “Our girls are working on becoming stronger and better conditioned, but we still tend to lose kick height half way through, so we need to keep that consistent.
“Being that we only have one senior this year I would expect big things from this group in the next few years. The girls love the music, so they are having fun on the floor, which really helps keep them pumped up.
“For jazz our strength is the variety between the girls. I can have some girls showcased doing extensions and another group doing turns at the same time.”
Ramsey is hoping for a big crowd for the Lakers’ season and home opener Saturday, Dec. 7, so her teams can showcase what they have to offer.
The meet starts at 12 p.m., with eight teams competing.
The Detroit Lakes Dance Team 2013-14 schedule:
7 Detroit Lakes Invite
14 at Bemidji
20 at Frazee
4 at Alexandria
11 at Hawley
18 at Pelican Rapids
25 at Fergus Falls
1 Section meet TBD