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Danceline competes in sections Feb. 2

DETROIT LAKES -- Detroit Lakes dancers are high kicking their way to the sections competition Feb. 2.

Coming off first and second places in January competitions, the danceline crew is ready for the challenge of sections.

Although the Minnesota State High School League has only been recognizing danceline as an official sport for about three years, the Detroit Lakes team has been performing for about 10 years, coach Ronita Hackel said. And the 16 girls practice every day, "just like any other sport," she added.

In January, danceline had three invitational meets where they competed against nine other teams, bringing them up against 15-17 teams total. Tuesday, they'll take part in a dual, where it's just two teams going head to head.

At the section competition, the girls will compete in the high kick and jazz funk categories. With their AA Class status, Detroit Lakes' dancers find themselves competing against larger schools like St. Cloud and Duluth. Hackel said that it's tougher because of the number of girls the bigger schools have to pick from for danceline. But, she said, that doesn't mean their girls are more talented.

At the section competition, there will be 14 teams competing, and the top three will go on to the state competition.

Hackle said the Detroit Lakes dance team has been to sections before, but usually placed in the middle of the teams. Where they place all depends on the "luck of the day."

In January, the team has been placing first, second and third, so they are on a roll going into the section competition.

Judges base points for the dances on the amount of kicks, spins, etc., that are contained in each program. They also have guidelines as to the length of the performance number.

Hackel said a few of the girls on the team work with her in a "combined effort" to choreograph the routines. She said she doesn't necessarily have a favorite to watch, high kick or jazz funk, because "it's nice to get that variety."

The Detroit Lakes group has always done well in high kick, she said, but this year they have been scoring even higher in their jazz funk routine. Sounds like a kicking good time competing for top honors.