After earning a taste of the state tournament last year, the Hutchinson Dance Team is hoping for another shot to prove itself as one of the top programs in Minnesota. But even though they’re hungry, team members know they have to keep pushing the boundaries of their act for the results they want.
“We had to do something a little creative and out of our comfort zone,” head coach Stephanie Kutter said about this year’s high kick dance theme. “I think in order to be competitive in our section, we have a really tough section, we’re known for being really athletic and dynamic, so we still have that component.”
This year’s high kick routine features a space galactic theme, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Captains Rachel Scheele, Alaina Burchill and Alia Muellerleile, along with Kutter, thought that space was a frontier not yet explored much in competition, and it seemed like a perfect time to be different.
“Space is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile now,” senior Emma Schierman said. “I know we wanted to do it last year, but we decided to do it this year.”
For the jazz dance routine, Hutchinson wanted something lyrical and with which it is familiar. This year’s song is “Helium” by Sia, and Kutter believes that having the jazz song be more artistic and theatrical will help improve the team’s creativity scores from last year. Lyrical jazz has more emotional and slow movements, Kutter said, similar to ballet, while typical jazz dance routines are more swing.
Once again the Showstoppers’ goals in high kick this year are to win the Wright County Conference and section crowns, qualify for state and improve on their 11th-place finish last season. The team took second in conference last year and third in sections.
In jazz the team is aiming to continue its steady improvement in both the conference and section competitions. Hutch took fifth in the WCC last year and sixth at sections.
“We’ve been slowly climbing,” Kutter said. “So I think our goal would be to be in the top four in our conference and section, that would be a definite improvement.”
Another goal the girls want to achieve is something that can’t be measured on the dance floor: connectivity.
“We have a really young team,” Muellerleile said. “Just getting to get to know everyone and becoming more of a family is something that we’ll strive for this year.”
The team has a lot of new dancers this season, and with a total of 23 kids the program is as big as it’s been in awhile. Even though they might be young, Kutter thinks that there is a good balance of experience as well.
“The girls work really, really hard,” she said. “I think they’re very eager. I think they really want to get a routine out on the floor and see how they compare to everybody else. But I think they’re definitely driven and motivated. I think experiencing the state floor really makes them driven this year. We’ll see how it goes, it should be an exciting year.”
The Showstoppers will get to see just where they stand during their first meet of the season at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Delano Invitational at Delano High School.