The Tigerettes competed along with 62 other dance teams from across the nation, finishing at No. 6 in the Varsity High Kick Division. The Tigerettes also competed in
ORLANDO, FL — The Baldwin County High School Tigerettes recently traveled to Orlando, FL to culminate its 2017-2018 season at the Dance Team Union National Competition.
The Tigerettes competed along with 62 other dance teams from across the nation, finishing at No. 6 in the Varsity High Kick Division. The Tigerettes also competed in Large Varsity Pom.
Coach Elizabeth Byrd said the Tigerettes' competition theme this year was "There's No Place Like 1st". In Large Varsity Pom, the competition's largest division, the Tigerettes performed to a medley of songs about winning, including songs such as "All I Do is Win", "We are the Champions", and "Eye of the Tiger".
In the Varsity High Kick division, the competition's most competitive division, the Tigerettes performed to a mix of "Ease On Down the Road" from the Broadway classic "The Wiz", with overlays of sound bites from the motion picture "The Wizard of Oz".
Byrd said the team had very strong Preliminary Competition performances, earning solid scores. However, the Preliminary Round didn't end without bringing challenges to the team. Two team members suffered injuries during a performance.
After the preliminary competition, the bottom scoring teams were eliminated. Based on the Tigerettes' competitive rankings, the team moved on to the Second Chance Round of Preliminary Competition. Due to the injuries, Byrd said the team had one hour to make formation and choreography changes to both routines in order to prepare to perform and compete again Saturday night.
The team captain, Patience Newsome, who entered the competition as an alternate due to recently recovering from a sprained MCL in her knee, volunteered to step up to fill an open spot in the Pom routine. Within 20 minutes, Patience worked to master the choreography and prepare herself to compete.
“This selfless sacrifice by Patience kept the majority of the team from having to make any individual last minute changes to the Pom routine. This allowed the team to focus primarily on the abundance of changes required for the kick routine,” Byrd said.
Patience was unable to sustain performing kick with her recent injury, the entire team did have to makes changes and adjustments to adapt the kick routine for a second performance.
“With the pressure of competing to progress into Finals, the Tigerettes pulled together as a team, with unwavering focus and determination to prepare to perform again with the last minute choreography changes,” Byrd said.
Despite the changes, the Tigerettes' Second Chance Preliminary Competition performances Saturday night, proved to be just as powerful and energetic as the morning performances. While the team did not advance into the finals for the pom performance, it did make it to finals for Varsity Kick Division.
“With the amount of adversity surrounding this routine that the team had just overcome in a few short hours, this was a remarkable accomplishment. The team was moving into Finals, but the obstacles were not over yet,” Byrd said.
Sunday morning, injuries and a stomach bug threatened, but the army of 21 Tigerettes rallied together to power through in order to perform for Finals. “They commanded the floor and performed an outstanding, entertaining routine. Everyone left the dance floor excited and proud of what had just been accomplished. Now, all there was to do was watch other teams and wait for the awards ceremony,” Byrd said.
The team finished in 6th place in the Varsity High Kick Division. This placement at this level of competition for a team who has only been competing at a national level for two years is a true achievement.
"All of the teams were strong and at the top of their game - everyone is at this level. That is the type of competition you expect and want to face,” Byrd said. “Nevertheless, with all of the obstacles overcome, I was extremely proud to walk away with the 6th place trophy."
The coach went on to praise her team for its consistency and perseverance in the face of adversity.
"In all my years of coaching the Tigerettes, I have never seen a team of Tigerettes perform more consistently powerful than I saw at DTU Nationals this year. I am so proud of not only their level of performance and adaptation to adversity, but also their positive attitudes and strong commitment to the team for the duration of the trip."
The team will take a break for the month of March and then begin plans to tackle the 2018-2019 season. The team will host its Annual Day of Dance on Saturday, April 7. This all-day dance clinic is open to participants in the 2nd through 11th grades. Auditions for the 2018-2019 team will be held on April 28. There will be an informational meeting about audition practices and the audition process on April 3.