Dance Jaywalkers shine in competition season


Photo by Lacy Bieker

Jaywalkers junior dancers Isabella Fitzgerald and Gabrielle Ziglin pose before the start of their performance in the Big Blue Jay Gym on Wednesday, Jan. 5. “[Nationals] is such a big competition, but obviously we want to go, we want to do good and we want to maybe take something home,” Ziglin said. The dance team will compete at national competition Feb. 18-20 and and their state competion on Sat. Feb. 26 at the Family Arena in St. Charles.

Now fully in the winter season, school, extracurricular activities and sports are heating up and packing calendars. The WHS Jaywalkers dance team are no exception to this trend. In preparation for state and national competition, the dancers have competed in three competitions, two of which were in the last two weeks.

“It’s a little bit stressful [having competitions back to back], but it keeps us going, keeps us busy,” junior Isabella Fitzgerald said. “It definitely keeps us motivated at practice, especially after having Lindbergh so early…Having [competitions] consistently, we have something to look forward to each weekend, to work hard for during weekdays.”

To add to the stress of polishing dance routines for competitions, the Jaywalkers have been plagued by injuries for the last few months.

“[Injuries] have been a big factor this season,” junior Gabrielle Ziglin said. “I had fractured my foot and I was out for two or three months, and then a girl on the dance team has something wrong with her ankle, and she’s been out for about a month…Back injuries, lots of foot injuries, so we have a pretty small competing team right now.”

Despite this setback, the Jaywalkers persevered and earned several titles at their last few competitions. The dance team placed first in pom routines and second in kick routines at the Yvonne Cole Lindbergh Dance Invitational on Sat. Dec. 4. They also placed second in pom routines at the Fort Zumwalt North Invitational on Sat. Jan. 22.

“With our pom routines, they’re mixes of different songs…this year is a Lady Gaga mix, so it’s four of her songs, all combined into one,” Fitzgerald said.

A consistent schedule has given the dance team a lot of practice on the stage, and a chance to size up their competition.

“It’s definitely good to see what the other teams have brought because you never know what you’re up against at state,” Fitzgerald said. “The judges’ comments from previous competitions every weekend are [also] helpful because we can take those and apply changes…Confidence wise, we still have a lot of areas to improve, but I think that if we work really hard, and we just take the time to focus on different sections of the routines that we think need more time, we can get there.”

The Jaywalkers are very focused on making these adjustments as state and national competition approach, and their season comes to a close. The dancers are highly motivated as a result of positive leadership from their upperclassmen dancers, seniors Ava Kelly, Emma Lock, Natalie Oesterly and Alyssa Prewitt.

“I think the seniors have done a really good job, all four of them have done a good job of emphasizing the point of needing to work hard during practice,” Fitzgerald said. ‘“Putting the work in at practice is going to be what we get out of competitions. You can’t just go there [on] the day of expecting to win…the seniors have done a really good job of motivating us this year.”