Finals in Florida

    The Sensations made it to the finals of their national competition

    Kierigan McEvoy

    More stories from Kierigan McEvoy

    Empowering Others
    May 22, 2020

    The Sensations departed the chilly Missouri weather for warmer temperatures on Thursday, Jan 31 bright and early in the morning. Their destination: Orlando, Florida for their National competition hosted by Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports. Feelings of anticipation and jitters flooded the team on their flight as described by sophomore, Payton Leap.

    “I think we were all excited and nervous at the same time because we didn’t know what we were expecting because we knew we were good this year, but we didn’t know what other teams were like; what they have this year,” Leap said.

    Once they arrived at the Orlando airport, nerves were only heighten as the team collected their bags, full of the essentials: costume, make-up, and hair products, and headed to the hotel. At the hotel the team divided into rooms which are pre arranged by the coaches.

    “The coaches pick [the rooms]. You have your sister on the team and then it’s usually whoever you camp with,” all in a room together Leap explained.

    After everyone on the team is unpacked and settled in, the team will conduct a practice to get ready for their busy weekend of competing ahead. One practice has ended the first fun order of business and somewhat of a team tradition is to visit Disney Springs. This shopping and restaurant center outside of the Disney parks is full of vibrant colors and plenty of things to do and explore.

    “We go to Disney Springs, and we get dinner there, and go shopping and have team time,” Leap commented.

    “Team time” is just the Sensations way of saying they spend quality time together, bonding before they go on stage and perform. The idea is this team bonding will allow the team to be more insync when they perform.

    Some may say Nationals is just a waste and excuse for the team to miss school and go have fun at Disney, but the truth is the girls “play time” at the Disney parks is well deserved. After first arriving in Orlando the rest of their days begin well before 7 a.m. as they wake up, get ready, gather their costumes, and head over to their practice facility. There is a very extensive procedure, according to senior, Addison Jarus, when preparing for competition.

    “We get to the competition, we get in our costumes, get in the zone and then we practice outside, just kind of like warming up. Then you go backstage and there’s warm up floors and that’s where you can do your dance full out and do your tricks full out and like actually do the dance and get in the zone. Then you stand in line and then you wait for your turn to go on stage,” Jarus explained.

    While all this preparation may seem like a lot of work and nerve wracking, for Jarus and many of her teammates, it is precisely the opposite.

    “I love the competition as a whole. I think the competition is so much fun. Being on stage with my team is really fun and like being backstage, even when we’re serious and everything, we still are pumping each other up and getting excited,” Jarus said.

    For this team, there really is no “I” or “me.” Every practice, every performance, and every time spent together is full of dedication to each other and their love of dance. Senior and this year’s captain Callie Bratsch was extremely proud of the effort the team displayed at nationals.   

    “I was impressed by the performance quality we had as a team,” Bratsch said. “Our team this year is so talented, works so hard, and is so close. Regardless of scores, I would say this was my most successful  nationals, and definitely the most fun.”

    This year the team made it to semifinals in both jazz and hip hop, but only placed in hip hop, ranking eighth overall. This was a bit of a let down for the team who had hoped to make it to finals in jazz along with their hip hop performance. To make matters more frustrating, the scoring for finals at nationals is always extremely close.

    “All 11 teams in medium hip hop finals were within under two points. It’s always really close and pretty frustrating when you’re like two tenths of a point away from a goal,” Bratsch explained.

    Though this was not the outcome the team had wanted, they are for the most part still happy with where they ended up.

    “I’m really happy with it because we were nervous going into nationals … and like our nationals performances were probably our best performances, so we were really excited,” Jarus said.