CHS dance team prepares for year of firsts

Camas to host dance competition

Camas High dance team members liven up their routine with excited faces during practice on Saturday, August 4.

The Camas High School Dance team is trying new things for the 2018-19 school year. The team will host its first competition for schools across the state and take its first jab at a show routine that features rotating flat panels, props and mid-dance outfit changes.

Camas High dance team coach Lesa Blanchard speaks to the team during practice, Saturday, Aug. 4. Blanchard is working with the students and three other coaches to choreograph the team's first show performance. The theme of the performance is addiction to technology.

The Camas High School Dance team will bring the adrenaline to the competition floor as they take their first crack at a show routine that features sliding backdrops, props and costume changes mid-dance.

The team’s head coach Lesa Blanchard said the 20 dancers will leap and move around the theme of technology addiction.

“They start off social and interacting with each other, and as the phones come out they lose that interaction together,” she said. “And so they’re trying to bring the conversation back to real life.”

Team captains Nicole Nguyen and Tionni Trieu, seniors who have been part of the team for four years, said they are excited to tackle the show style of dance.

Nguyen said she enjoys when the routines portray ideas that are relevant to her life as a teenager.

Trieu agreed and said she liked the idea of the routine because of its backstory and meaning.

Amie Beld is also a dance team captain this year, and the team atmosphere is at an all-time high of support and kindness.

“(The team) is very supportive in anything that you do,” Trieu said. “They’re always there for you, super cheery and basically what you would consider the perfect family.”

Blanchard, who has lead the team for five years and is a teacher at Skyridge Middle School, said the team is full of “extremely motivated and extremely kind” members.

“That’s been a big stick out to me, is these girls when they’re communicating online with each other they are just so nice, so supportive, so complimentary,” the coach said. “I haven’t heard or seen anything negative, so that’s been amazing. We haven’t always had that in the past, but this is a good core group.”

Nguyen said everyone on the team has their differences, but in the end, those differences bring them closer because they learn to accept each other.

There are four team coaches this year — Blanchard, Amira Onuoha, Raksmey Rang and Kat Romano.

“This year we have actually a really nice, fun group of dancers,” Trieu said. “I’m really excited to see how far we can go, both team wise and technique wise in dance.”

The team will compete in three categories this year — jazz, pom and show — and perform during football and basketball games as well as assemblies.

Another first that the team is taking a shot at this year is hosting its own competition.

The team wants to bring the community, as well as local food vendors, small businesses, photographers and non-dance team performers, together for a competition between dance teams across Washington in their own town from 11:30 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., on Dec., 8, at Camas High, 26900 S.E. 15th St., Camas.

Trieu said she loves the competition season.

“I always get an adrenaline rush before we go on,” she said. “It’s probably my favorite part of the entire dance season.”

Nguyen said she still gets nervous before a performance, but once they’re all on the floor it’s showtime.

“All of the emotions come out, and it feels really good to be out there,” she said.

Nguyen added that her favorite style of dance to perform is contemporary and lyrical.

“Contemporary and lyrical is really expressive,” Nguyen said. “And I just like being able to express my feelings through dance, which is part of the reason why I love dance so much and usually contemporary is like sad or powerful, so it just fits the mood.”

The team captains are looking forward to competitions and the overall season with their group.

“I just want to show what we’ve been working on the entire year and show our best, because with the potential that we have on the team, it should be really nice,” Trieu said.