Warrior Dance Team wins platinum

Jupiter High’s Warrior Dance Team won platinum, the highest score, at the “Turn it Around Tour” dance competition on April 24. Their season ended with not only a platinum award but also first place overall in hip hop and second place overall for poms. 

“It was honestly very emotional. I’m not a crier, and not going to lie, I did cry,” Gina Manno, Warrior Dance Team coach, said. “The girls were ecstatic. It is kind of surreal. It is still not real to me that we actually did so well.”

Manno was excited about the win, but not surprised, with the girls’ willingness to put in hours of practice and maintain a positive attitude. 

“I would text the girls every single day telling them that we are manifesting a win and that’s exactly what we did,” Manno said. 

Along with the group routines, the girls also performed solos. 

“It was exciting and surreal. I mainly practiced my movements and technique. But when I performed, I focused more on my emotion; this resulted in myself feeling the dance to an emotional level,” Ariel Lyden, solo performer, said. 

The Warriors also competed with a duo and trio performance and won awards for both.

“I did my duo with my friend Sydney, and it was a fun experience since I got to do something with one of my close friends,” Angela Pfirman said. “We got a high gold, which also is pretty good.” 

Olivia McCleary, Lauren Klein and Maria Silfa competed in the trio, placing fourth.

“Doing a trio was a great experience as I got the opportunity to come up with my own choreography and teach it to others,” Lauren Klein said. 

Under the direction of Manno, the choreography challenged the dancers to push themselves at competition.  

“Being able to do the trio was actually quite challenging but fun. With a trio it’s easier to spot mistakes, therefore, every move needed to exactly match the others,” Olivia McCleary said. 

Preparing for a competition took weeks, from creating the routines to then learning and cleaning the routines. 

“I prepared mainly at home and in my 6th period with Mrs. Hansen. She helped me choreograph some parts and personalize my dancing,” Lyden said. “The JHS dance team coach, coach Gigi, helped me with the clarification of steps and overall cleanliness of the routine. I also repeatedly reviewed the dance at my house.” 

The dancers enjoy Manno’s coaching style and constant encouragement. 

“Coach made me believe in myself when I couldn’t and wanted to give up,” Pfirman said. “She made me a stronger dancer throughout, yelling to the whole team not to give up and by telling me that she knew that I could do it.”

Other dancers agreed. 

“What I love most about coach Gina is the fact that she is willing to do anything for the team,” Sydney Chase, sophomore, said. “If anyone needs something, she is there. and if something goes wrong, she fixes it. she’s an awesome coach and an amazing person.” 

Aside from the coach’s leadership, the girls attributed their success to the bonds they formed over the course of the season.

“My favorite part of being on the team would be dancing with my close friends; it’s really fun being around people you love,” Pfirman said. “However, you also get to meet other people who later on in the year you’ll become friends. And since everyone there has some things in common, which is dance, that is what makes everyone close at some moments.”

Although the seniors cherished their last year on the team, they will miss their dance family. 

“I will miss my coach and my teammates the most since they are the people that helped me grow in the dance team and that made the experience the best it could’ve been specially this year with the pandemic,” Maria Silfa, senior captain, said. 

The pandemic affected the dancers at the beginning of the season, forcing them to take a break to ensure good health for the rest of the season.

“We actually got infected with COVID during basketball season, so that was very scary,” Manno said. 

Despite the drawbacks, the girls had a successful year. If you’re interested in trying out for the 2021-2022 dance team, tryouts are taking place this month. 

“I would encourage others to join the dance team since it’s such a nice passionate team that works really hard toward every performance and is a judgement free zone where you can learn from others,” Silfa said.