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North Dance Team makes history placing 7th in the state competition

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Rachel Lewandowski
North varsity dancers celebrating the results of the state competition.

On Saturday, Jan. 27 the St. Charles North Girls Varsity Dance Team made North Star history, placing 7th in the IHSA state final at the Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington. 

Because this was the first time the stars have ever made it this far, there were a great deal of emotions and excitement buzzing around.

“Truly I think it was like a dream come true. I think we were just so overwhelmed with emotions and happiness that we broke our own school record,” said Varsity head coach Francessca Damigella.

Leading up to state, the team participated in various competitions, similar to the regional competitions for other sports, using them to refine and clean up the dance itself. After their 5th place finish in the sectional competition at Lake Park High School, the team took feedback from the judges and revised their dance further in order to make it more appealing for the higher, state-level standard. 

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“On Monday Jan. 22, we changed probably a whole minute of our ending which usually isn’t done before the week of state. We only had Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to change our whole routine and perfect it to then perform it at state on Friday,” Damigella said. 

A few notable differences can be seen, comparing this year’s season and last. In particular, the team culture this year was something that really stood out, and it played a huge role in their state achievement. 

“Last year they were just so excited to make it to state, that once we made it, I think we were just excited to be there. This year, the girls never gave up. When we were in the back and we were having those team huddles, I think every single girl wanted to place at state, and every single girl had the same mindset,” said Damigella. 

Varsity girls dancing at state competition

Damigella was also able to build stronger athlete-coach relationships between this year and last, which helped her in leading the team. The girls felt like they could give her honest and truthful feedback without any negative reaction. 

“Last year because it was my first year coaching ever, I was just trying to get the girls some success. We never placed at our regionals, and we made it to day one of state, but we didn’t place on day two. I think this year it was so different because I had a little bit of experience under my belt, and I really relied on my seniors and my captains to just give me their feedback for how I was leading practice and if they needed more from me,” Damigella said. 

Seniors Abby Svihra, Claire Escaro, Ella Lewandowski, and junior Julia Lorenty exhibited their leadership, and impacted the team as captains. They led the team under Damigella, sending texts to the other dancers, telling them what to work on. They even pulled girls aside and trained them outside of practice to help them perfect the skills they needed to compete with. 

The varsity girls dance team posing for a picture after the competition

“They weren’t doing it for my benefit, they were doing it for the team and to make the team successful,” said Damigella.

After watching some of the winning dances from the other divisions, the team also wants to work to incorporate some of the skills and tricks shown in order to ensure that they show an advanced mastery level of the sport. 

“Our goals for next year are definitely to place in the top five, maybe even top three. I think next year, our biggest goal is to perform more as a team, and have those skills as a team,” Damigella said. 

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About the Contributor
Alex Bardouniotis, Sports Editor
Alex is a writer for the Stargazer. She is a senior at North and has been on the staff since November 2021. Alex engages in student journalism because digging deeper into real life events, problems, and situations, as well as exploring different angles and perceptions of things, is super fun! It also helps you, and others, to understand the way society works.

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