When the Hutchinson Showstoppers hit the floor at the Target Center in Minneapolis Saturday, they’ll be ready to compete on the biggest stage of the season.
The dancers are back in the Class 2A High Kick State Championship for a second straight year. While they’ve had two weeks since sections to prepare for the state competition, most of their work has been minor tweaks and projecting in a much larger arena than the high school gyms they typically perform in.
“We've been focusing more on trying to connect way up to that second level of where the judges will be sitting,” head coach Stephanie Kutter said. “What our kicks have to look like from that perspective, what our transitions have to look like from that perspective. It's more the same things we usually do, but just taking that bird's eye view more as a focus.”
But the biggest thing Kutter has stressed to members of the team is to have fun and enjoy the moment. Only 36 teams from around the state get to perform at the Target Center, so she told the Showstoppers to bask in the experience and pageantry of the event.
That doesn’t mean dancers don’t feel the pressure that comes with the anticipation of being in such a big moment. Based on the team’s scores from sections, Kutter said Hutchinson would have placed in the top 10 of state competition. The team’s best state finish in school history was ninth back in 2012. While Hutch’s main goal is to have fun and enjoy the experience, a top-10 finish and making school history would be a great way to cap off the season.
“Our team is super amazing,” Amelie Fumagalli said. “I think if we push hard we can do it.”
Fumagalli was with the Showstoppers on last year's team that went to state, but for Cora Renning, this will be her first time out on the Target Center stage. What does Renning expect?
“There's always going to be a little pressure,” she said, “like everything we do. But there's definitely a little more pressure. I think it'll be fun.”
The Class 2A prelims are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., with Hutchinson expected to perform at approximately 2:56 p.m. Following the preliminary round, the top six teams qualify for finals, which are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. If you can’t make it to the Target Center in person, you can visit prepspotlight.tv to watch the competition online.
The ‘Stoppers will receive a grand send-off at 9:30 a.m. Friday as their bus will be escorted by a fire truck and police cars, passing several parks and schools on its way out of town.
“The girls deserve to be there,” Kutter said. “They qualified in the top 10, so focusing on that and realizing, ‘Hey we're here, let's do it,’ we'll see what happens.”