Stepping up to state


Music drifts through the air, the volume slightly shaking the bleachers. Dancers flow in rhythm to the beat on the gym floor, pushing their bodies off the ground to leap through the air. Those in the stands clap their hands while the team moves as one, simultaneously pouring emotion into their performance. Etowah’s Dancing Eagles put their all on the floor, and their hard work is reflected in the results of the Mill Creek Dance Competition.  

On Jan. 29, the Dancing Eagles participated in a regional school dance team competition at Mill Creek High School. After a nine-hour day full of nerves and performances, the dancers, along with their coach, Brittany Chandler, brought home a win in the pom category and a second-place award for jazz. The competition is divided into several different categories and sub-categories with the over-arching divisions being varsity and junior varsity. Teams also compete in groupings based on their school size. Within the size distinctions are the style categories, such as jazz or pom.  

“I would say 7A is the most competitive because we [7A teams] have bigger schools and teams. There is a lot of really good teams out there that we are up against,” Madison Hall, sophomore, said. 

The dancers prepared rigorously for their past two regional competitions. Their season began on Oct. 2021, with at least two-morning practices a week starting at 6:30 a.m. Although this is when practice officially started, the dancers fundraised money for a guest choreographer, Devon Sells, that constructed their routines during a 3-day camp in July.  

“This summer was groundbreaking for the Dancing Eagles. We learned new routines that pushed us to our limits and introduced us to choreography that was out of our comfort zone, but we persisted and worked extremely hard to be at the level we are now,” Livy Sells, senior and co-team captain, said. 

While the team celebrates the recent win, they are not letting the excitement slow them down in preparation for the state competition in Columbus, Ga. on Feb. 12. Chandler continues to push the dancers to reach their full potential, using this high to motivate them as they train.  

“I am so excited for state this year. The team continues to improve every practice, and I cannot wait to see what they do at State. We are in a tough division, but I truly feel the team is a real contender,” Chandler said. 

Even if one has not followed along through the Dancing Eagle’s whole season, it is not too late to wish them luck as they head to State.