Throwing Down the Flag

Hanna La Londe, Writer

A recent decision has been made with approval from district officials and West administration, to separate the varsity dance team and their role as the marching band’s color guard.

Dance team tryouts have always included a flag section. Next year, the audition for the color guard will be included with the dance team tryout, but those auditioning can choose preference on dance team or color guard.

“I am very excited about the creation of the color guard.  It will open up an opportunity for a large number of students to join a performance team,” coach Anne McClain said.

The past few years, there have been more than 70 students who auditioned for dance team.

“The idea for a color guard began from looking at the number of students auditioning for dance team.  The dance team has been comprised of about 30 dancers, so there was a majority who were unable to participate,” McClain said.

Marching band has required the varsity dance team to give up their time every Monday through Friday from 7 to 8:15 AM and Tuesday nights from 6 to 8 PM. This is a lot of time that the dance team could have spent working on their competition dances and new choreography for Spring Show. Now the team will have time to work on their dances (learned in July) throughout the Fall.

“Dance team will focus solely on dance while color guard focuses solely on color guard.  This will allow both groups to become the best they can be in each of their fields,” McClain said.

The process of making the separate color guard took about five months to get approved by the school and district officials. The dance team is finally liberated from their marching band duties. Although many dance team members are pleased by this decision, it is uncertain whether the dance team will accompany the band in the 2018 London New Year’s Day Parade trip. Eight dance team members will still travel in a week with the band to London and perform a flag routine.

“I think it’s a great change for the team. It’ll give us more time to work on our dances instead of having to learn flag choreography,” junior Chloe Schade said.

The dance team is prepared for a brighter future with more time to work on choreography and improve technique.