A day in the life: Cyclonette Dancer at Miss Kansas Dance Competition

Morgan Waterman, reporter

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Each year, competition season rolls around for the Cyclonette dance team. The Cyclonettes go to two or three dance competitions, including one at Olathe South. The Miss Kansas Dance Competition is the biggest competition that the dance team attends and is an all-day event. Weeks of preparation go into making sure that the team is ready with each of their dances. There is usually a pom, jazz, and lyrical routine that all have to be worked on.

As the competition approaches, tensions rise, as the thought of the other teams at the competition come to mind. The majority of the other teams at the competition are from the Olathe area, and are extremely good dancers. This only pushes the Ottawa dance team harder and helps them grow as dancers.

This year, the Olathe South competition fell on Saturday, Jan. 13. With a whole week of practice under the dance team’s belt, they left for the competition at 6:30 a.m. On the way there, the team jammed to music to get in the mood for dancing.

Once the team arrived at Olathe South High School, they checked in and headed off to their designated classroom. Normally, each team receives their own classroom, where they can eat, sleep, or get ready. In Ottawa’s classroom, blankets and pillows were sprawled across the floor to create a napping space to use while the team waited to dance. In the center of the room, the Cyclonettes used desks to create a table for the mounds of food the dancers brought to share, also known as the most important spot in the room. On top of the other desks, and surrounding the room, each dancer set up a “get-ready” station with makeup and hair supplies, and made sure they had all the necessary uniforms for that day.

In the midst of getting ready, Denise Hiatt [head coach] stayed on top of the schedule. She made sure the dancers had time to practice each dance and then made sure dancers were on time for each performance.

The first dance was the officer dance, then the lyrical, then jazz, and the last dance was pom. Judges watched each dance and made recommendations and scores. After they danced, the team watched other teams’ performances, and bought t-shirts made for the competition.

Throughout the competition, the judges chose dances to “showcase.” This means that there are certain dances the judges want everyone to see at the ending competition ceremony. At the end of the competition, all participating teams filed into the gym to watch the showcase dances.

After that, teams were guided to the gym floor to start awards–a very long process because of the number of teams. Ottawa received a “sweepstakes award” for competing three routines, received a “technique award” for their pom routine, and a “showmanship award” for their lyrical routine.

Following awards, the Cyclonettes trudged back to their designated classroom and gathered their stuff to leave and board the bus. Tiredly, the dancers lifted their belongings into the bus and slumped down on a seat to rest. By the time the dance team had arrived back in Ottawa it was 9:30 p.m., making it a 15-hour day.