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DHS Midgettes to host invitational meet

Dickinson High School Midgettes practice a dance routine for the upcoming invitational meet in Dickinson.

After months of hard work and multiple blisters, the Dickinson High School Midgettes are ready to showcase their talent as a dance team.

The Midgettes are hosting an invitational competition on Saturday at the DHS gymnasium. Seventeen teams will be competing in categories of hip hop, jazz, kick and pom.

The doors open at 10:30 a.m., competition starts at 11:30 a.m., and awards are at 4:30 p.m.

The public is invited to watch the competition that represents Class A and B teams, junior varsity and junior high school divisions. Exhibition dances also are planned by Just for Kix and Burn the Floor Diversity in Dance.

The 14-member DHS team is young as compared to previous years. Half of the dancers are freshmen, coach Megan VanSon said.

“This year, we have a smaller team; therefore I chose very wisely,” she said. “By the time my freshmen are seniors, we’ll have a very solid team.”

Last year, the team placed second in hip hop at the state competition.

“We are more well-rounded than previous years,” Vanson said.

For the competition, the kick routine will be a flashback to “Old-time Rock n’ Roll.” The other dances have contemporary music.

The choreography was written by VanSon and her assistant coach, Chelisa Ridl.

A freshman at Dickinson State University, Ridl was one of the team captains when she danced with the Midgettes last year. She helps choreograph and run practices.

“I wanted to keep dance in my life and I want to help the girls,” Ridl said.

Working as a coach is a lot different than a dancer, she said.

“I’m not participating on the floor with them, but I get to watch them and help correct themselves,” she said.

The Midgettes began learning basic techniques in July. Homecoming launched their performance season, followed by work on choreographed dances. They commit to practice five days a week, usually in the evenings when VanSon is free to coach.

The team’s first competition was Saturday, Dec. 7, in Mandan. It was an opportunity to review it performance and make changes as needed, VanSon said.

To build on the program, the Midgettes are sponsoring a Kid’s Camp from 3-6 p.m. Jan. 5. It’s open to students ages 4-12.

“Dancing is fun, and we want to make it fun for the kids,” VanSon said.

Participants receive T-shirts and snacks and they learn a dance routine. The routine will be showcased during a basketball game on Jan. 7 in DHS.

The camp will be limited to the first 100 students who enroll.

“I think the younger grades are getting more interested in dance,” she said. “It’s a huge fundraiser for us. “The funds help us pay for competition expenses.”

Team member Abbey Aijala is returning to the Midgettes as a junior this year.

“We’re a very young team, but for the most part we get along very well and work together,” Aijala said.

As a team member, she has learned to juggle practice time with school responsibilities.

“I have to make sure all my homework is done and I don’t have to cram on Sunday night,” she said.

The rewards as a Midgette are many.

“Many young girls look up to you and you meet many new friends,” she said.

During upcoming practices, the team will work on clean routines.

“We’re a small team — one person being off sticks out like a sore thumb,” she said.

Aijala is looking forward to performing for the home crowd.

“I think it’s an adrenaline rush,” she said.

Her teammate Morgan Tisor, concurs.

“It’s definitely a rush performing — it should be good,” she said.

As a senior, this is her first year as a Midgette.

“I’ve always loved dancing, but have gotten hurt so many times when we had auditions,” she said.

The team has taught her to appreciate hard work and to work as a team.

“We’re still working on techniques, but we’re so much better than at the beginning. We’ve come a long ways,” Tisor said.

She gave credit to her coach and assistant coach.

“There are so dedicated,” Tisor said. “They really push us. They are super-nice.”

The Midgettes are affiliated with the North Dakota Association of Dance and Drill. The state competition is Jan. 24-25 at the Alerus Center, Grand Forks.