Dance Team takes state title in Jazz


Keenan Schember

After finishing second in state the previous two seasons, the Knightettes were named state champions for the seventh time in program history.

Last Friday, the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Jazz Dance team won the 2014 State Meet at the Target Center. Although a team of 14 girls ranging from seventh graders through twelfth, only 11 participated in the dance in front of thousands of screaming fans. Senior captains Jacqueline Bieter and Katie Segner, and junior captain Natalie Chevalier led the team of Knightettes to their state championship, with the help of coaches Sara Schultz, Sarah Johnson, and Sam Cameranesi.

Rick Lager

Leading up to the state tournament, the girls had been preparing for the state tournament all season with with three hour long practices, five days a week for five months. Practice was not solely dancing, but also included conditioning and high impact cardio. The Knightettes also participate in a countless amount of team bonding events to help with team chemistry. “Although the practices were intensely hard and even tears were shed, in the end it was so worth it hearing our names called and was an irreplaceable moment,” junior Margaux Brink said.

Since dancing in front of thousands of people isn’t easy, and can get overwhelming at times, the girls tend to do a lot of mental activities like meditation to prepare for the big moment. “Before the performance it can be a bit nerve wracking at first, but when you step out onto the floor it is the best feeling in the world and all your nerves go away,” junior Kendel Malcolm said.

One of the biggest obstacles the team was faced with was starting off the year with new coaches which was a transition for the team and prevented an early bond from forming between the coaches and dancers. Another issue the team faced was the numerous injuries that occurred as eight members on the team experienced an injuries ranging from concussions to sprained ankles.

Visually and physically very difficult, the dance is the hardest challenge for the team. Having to choreograph their own dance, the Knightettes spent more than 25 hours coming up with it with the captains make sure that every girl performs to the best of their ability in the dances and each dance expresses each individual girls’ best talents.

For the past two years the Red Knights placed second in State, but reversed the trend this year. With all the pressure on them, they stayed focussed and beat 12 opposing schools to capture the state title. “This is a surreal moment for us, it was the most incredible experience we’ve ever been through and we hope we can do the same for next year,” junior Margaux Brink said.