The Grant Union Gold dancers wowed the crowd Friday at their annual Spring Showcase with team, duo and solo performances.

Dancers took the floor at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School, showing skills they’ve learned over the past six months of practice, while also celebrating their kickoff to the OSAA Dance and Drill State Championships.

The team will travel to state competition on Friday, leaving the school at 9 a.m., performing at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday at the Portland Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Head coach Kattie Piazza said she’s coached several of her team members since sixth or seventh grade. Brandi Hicks is her assistant coach this year.

The 10 Gold dancers started off Friday’s event performing to “The Greatest Show,” the theme song from the movie “The Greatest Showman.”

In the routine, both Leah Comer and Celine Hicks are lifted up in the air by teammates.

Performing solo in a contemporary, lyrical style were Brianna Majors, Leah Comer, Shanniyah Hall, Celine Hicks and Ali Chobo.

Chobo and Andrea Comer also took the floor for a hip-hop number, which Piazza said is a favorite form of dance for both girls.

All solo and duo numbers were choreographed by the girls performing them.

The finale was the big reveal of the state competition dance, the team dancing to “Whatever It Takes” by the band Imagine Dragons with a theme of “Breaking Free.”

Piazza said they still had a little more to add to it for state. Again, the choreography included Leah Comer and Celine Hicks held up by teammates in the performance.

Andrea Comer, Celine Hicks and Ali Chobo were recognized as seniors on the team.

Emilie Updegrave, a junior, said she was happy with the outcome for the evening as well as the season.

“We have worked really hard for this, and I personally think this is the best year we’ve had in a while,” she said. “This team has meant so much to me because everyone loves dance so much and is here for a reason.”

Sophomore Brianna Majors was also pleased.

“I think we performed strongly tonight,” she said. “I think we’re ready for state.”

The 2A Gold dancers are in for a challenge Saturday, as they compete against schools in the 1A-4A class.

“It’s one of the toughest divisions in the state,” Piazza said, adding Grant Union is the only 2A team taking the floor.

She said some of the teams have dance as a year-round sport, and some score as high as 6A teams.

Although competition will be tough, looking forward, Piazza remains hopeful.

“We have one of the best-conditioned teams in the state of Oregon,” she said. “It takes a lot of strength, energy and emotion.”

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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