Last year there wasn't even a competition dance team at Durango High School; this year they're cleaning up at regional
In their first competition as a team, the Demons dominated the National Dance Association (NDA) competition in Grand
Junction on Nov. 20.
The competition, held at Mesa State College, was attended by nine Western Slope teams, including fellow Southwestern
League members Grand Junction, Grand Junction Central and Fruita Monument.
This competition was for teams who wanted to see where they stood going into state. It was good for us to see where
we stood compared to other teams," co-head coach Carol Farley said.
The girls stacked up well, winning both the Pom and Jazz divisions of the competition and also received the grand
champion award as the team with the highest cumulative point total out of all dance and cheer teams competing.
They just kept calling us up," senior co-captain Prezly Shry said of the ceremony. We all just looked at each other
saying, 'Did we really just win again?' It was really exciting to know we did so well our first time (competing)."
The Pom and Jazz divisions involve two different types of dance, showing how well-rounded the Demon dancers were.
Pom is more strong, sharp movements with a focus on arm movements and quick stops, while Jazz has more flow through
moves and is more expressive," senior Tasha Fitts said. To win both shows a lot about the quality of our dancers."
The team - Katie Pritchard, Emily Murray, Tianna Farley, Emily Lavengood, Erin Edblom, Mikayla McClanahan, Fitts and
Shry - also was awarded the Superior Showmanship award. The team is coached by Carol Farley and Toni McClanahan.
They knew we hadn't competed before, and I think they were just impressed with how much energy the girls showed in
their performances," coach Farley said.
Durango actually fielded the smallest team at the competition with only eight girls on the floor.
The judges actually said they loved that we showed it didn't take great size to have a great performance and have a
lot of energy," Murray said.
Individually, Lavengood won the award for best leaps, and Mikayla McClanahan received the best turns award.
Fitts received an honor of a different kind at the event. Every year the NDA hosts camps all across the country and
hands out a limited number of applications to high school seniors. Fitts was the only student at the competition to
receive an application.
They don't give that many applications away, in fact they didn't give any away last year, so it's a pretty big thing
that I got one," Fitts said.
While the girls only practice three days a week from 4 to 5:30 p.m. as a team, almost all the girls do other classes, ranging from ballet to hip-hop.
About 99 percent of the girls do other classes outside of what we do here; it really shows how much they love
dancing," coach Farley said.
The extra classes tend to keep all the girls plenty busy.
Most of us do around 10 hours of dance classes outside of the team," said Pritchard, a senior co-captain. A lot of
nights I don't get home until 9 and still have to do homework."
All the hard work paid off, though, as the girls were invited to compete at Nationals, which will be held in Orlando, Fla., this March. The team is unsure whether they will be able to attend, but are currently fund-raising and asking
for donations from the community.
We hope our school and community will support us in sending us to Nationals," Pritchard said.
It would be a great way to spend spring break," Fitts said with a smile.