The Grant Union Gold dance team is making a return this year as the seven girls unite to outshine the pandemic.
Head Coach Carli Bremner said having a season this year is exciting since it means the team can compete again and participate in an activity they enjoy.
Bremner said the girls have taken the new season well as a few brand new dancers joined along with returning dancers leading the team.
“The ones that have danced before, it is challenging (this season) because we know what we’re missing, but at the same time we’re so excited to have this opportunity just to be able to compete again and do what we love, even if it’s different this year,” Bremner said.
Grant Union senior Leah Comer said she was really excited to dance with the team again, and they have been lucky to practice in person.
“Definitely different than it has been in past years, but it’s exciting to have one (season) at all,” Comer said.
Bremner said the team usually travels to the west side of Oregon as they compete in big competitions with other schools, but this year many of the competitions are virtual.
She said, in April, there will be in-person judging, but judges will be traveling to schools instead of schools meeting at one facility.
Several other changes this season are the mask requirements for dancers, dancers keeping 6 feet apart from each other in their routine, which limits formation changes, and the prohibition of lifts and stunts due to the distance requirements and minimal contact allowed.
“Your face, every emotion that we can show, connects you to your audience, and when you can’t show your face as much, we have to work 10 times as hard to show that we’re hitting everything precisely,” Bremner said.
Grant Union junior Emily Finley said, even with the different season, she enjoys working with the new dancers this year and watching them improve as the season continues.
“Definitely just being able to have a season and watching new dancers improve have been a good thing,” Finley said. “I’ll talk with Leah, and I’ll say, ‘Look, they improved their turning today,’ and it’s cool to see that growth.”
Comer said she values this season because she started dancing when she was 4 and wanted another chance to dance with the team for her senior year.
“Dancing for my senior year has been really important, but it’s been fun so far this season,” Comer said.
Comer and Finley both agreed that their favorite part of dancing has been performing the choreography they practice in front of an audience and the chance to express themselves through dance.
This is Bremner’s first year as head coach, and she said she is loving the responsibility. She grew up in the county and danced since she was 4. Bremner, who was assistant coach last year, competed all through high school and knew she wanted to coach one day so she continued to dance in college.
“I came back and I said I have to get back in this,” Bremner said. “This year, I gave everything that I have into coaching, and I love being here. I love seeing the girls being able to develop through their dance, and I love being able to coach them, and they get to experience what I got to experience back in the day and the joy that dancing brings.”
The assistant coach is Megan Pass, and the dance team this year includes Leah Comer, Mariah Olson, Emma Schlarbaum, Hailey Mecham, Laramie Kiser, Emily Finley and Madison Spencer.