Politics play a role in high school dance

Mackenzie Coughlin, Staff Writer

Sports in high school are taken very seriously. The more popular sports like football and basketball especially become very competitive. This is no difference for high school dance.
Dance teams, although they compete against each other, are not traditionally ranked by skill like basketball. This does not stop the rivalries among schools because it is generally just known which teams stand out as “better.” This drama superiority definitely leads to the mindset of dancing to beat someone else rather than having fun.
The ways to become one of the top schools which sweeps the competition mainly involves money and how much that team is willing to spend for a trophy. Thousands of dollars a season are spent on choreography, music, costumes, practice spaces and travel. This does not include the extra expenses such as makeup, warm-up gear, bags, shoes and poms that add even more to the overall impact of a team.
Being able to buy an amazing choreographer will either make or break a routine. There are a select few choreographers that are very sought out in Nebraska that everyone wishes to work with. Not surprisingly, it tends to be the wealthier schools that end up with these people. This already puts certain teams at an advantage solely based on money. Even from which studio one learns a basic technique from growing up affects how they dance in high school.
The background that one has in dance greatly determines if they make the team they are trying out for. Most teams want to “recruit” dancers that will be an asset to the team without having to teach them the basics of dance. If a girl tries out only wanting to dance while having little to no experience, they most likely will not make it.
When it comes to the relationships between teams, it usually consists of the stereotypes associated with a team’s talent, money or school. Many teams gain a bad reputation just from rumors.
The company that runs all of high school dance is called UDA, the Universal Dance Association. This is the program that supplies most teams with uniforms and holds all the state, regional and national competitions.
Some judges that UDA hires have history with certain teams, coaches or choreographers, creating a favoritism within the judging panel. No one is able to see what goes on between judges, coaches and choreographers, which makes the process of judging questionable.
Compared to basketball and football, there are no actions that earn a certain amount of points. All scores are relative to the judges who each have differing opinions and factors determining what score they give.
Overall, high school dance is a very money-based sport that requires a lot of work and time to get good at. There are several unheard of aspects of the sport that play into who wins and who loses.