To each its own

High school dance and cheer teams have opposite philosophies

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The Moffat County dance and cheerleading teams have opposite outlooks going into this weekend's National Cheerleaders Association regional competition in Grand Junction.

For the dance team, this year's slogan has been, "Less is more."

That's because in years past, the team has used advanced dance moves to impress judges. This year, the routine is more basic.

"I looked at tapes of past winners, and their routines were more focused on basic cheer moves with advanced footwork," coach Susie Lord said. "We were doing more fancy dance and arm movements. So we simplified it, but I think it will make us better."

For the cheer team, the slogan is, "More is better." That's because the 19-member team is one of the largest Lord has coached.

"With more members, who almost all have competition experience, we have more advanced stunts," Lord said. "We have strength in numbers on the team."

Both teams compete today and again in two weeks at the Colorado High School Activities Association's State Spirit competition.

Senior Sarah Fleming made the switch from cheerleading to the dance team this year. She's excited about the dance team's routine.

"I love our dance," she said. "The simple moves we're using make it look better."

Even with a simplified routine, junior Kellie Jorgensen didn't think the dance was inferior to past routines.

"We have a higher skill level this year," she said. "Last year there were moves only a couple of the girls could get and this year all of us can do those moves."

The dance team will compete against seven teams today. That's a change from one or two teams in the past.

"Before, we would just be competing against ourselves at the regional," senior captain Adriane Zachary said. "It's nice to see what we're up against before we go to state."

Even though the cheer team has one competitor today, members will still have an idea what they are up against. That's because the other team at the regional is defending state champion Glenwood Springs.

"Glenwood is known for its tumbling," Lord said. "This year I think one of our strengths is tumbling, and I think that our routine is comparable to Glenwood's."

After this weekend, the Bulldogs will take what they heard from NCA judges and fine-tune their routines for the state competition Dec. 3.

Senior Kelly Watson moved this year from Rifle, where she also cheered. On Thursday, she was eager for the upcoming competitions.

"The girls have accepted me, and we're a good team," she said. "I think this team can score high."

Almost half the members of the cheer team are freshmen, but Lord said most of the rookies have experience in competition.

"We're not just throwing them out there," she said. "Most of them have competition experience."

The regional competition doesn't determine which teams make it to the state championship. That's because the NCA is running one and the CHSAA is in charge of the state weekend.

"If we were planning to compete nationally we'd take the regional more serious," Lord said. "We see it more as a tuneup for state."

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