End of Dance Team Competition Season

Lizzy Martinez, Co-Business Manager

The Downey High Dance team kicked off their competition season on Dec. 9, 2017 with the CADTD Dance Competition. Their season has come to an end with their last competition being the USA Dance Nationals. Previous to Nationals, they placed first place in Large Hip-Hop and second in small jazz and small hip hop at State Competition.


They placed four second places and one third place at the USA Dance Nationals. This was their first time making it to finals at Nationals and had been a goal for the dance team since the beginning of the school year.


Dancer on the team,Yasmine Padilla, 12, has been dancing since she was 5 years old. She has been on the team all of her 4 years at Downey High. She describes her role on the team being different from last year as a junior.


“This year as a senior on the team, I am seen as a leader now and I have to be a role model to the younger girls,” Padilla said. “Having a passion for dance helps me keep pushing myself. I have been dancing since I was little and I’ve always inspired to one day on the show, ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’”

Senior dancer, Giselle De Paz, 12, began dancing at the age of 3. She was on the team for two years before she took her junior year off and has now returned for her senior year.


“Coming back, I saw the biggest jump in change in the dance program overall, and I believe we accomplished so much this year because we are more unified than ever,” De Paz said. “The break of my junior year set me back, but it made me realize how much I missed dance and the stress reliever it is.”


Dancer on the team, Alyssa Gutierrez, 11, began her journey as a dancer 12 years ago.  She describes being at finals for Nationals as being a great accomplishment.


“I was grateful and overjoyed because we made it so far, and us being focused and unified helped us get this far,” Gutierrez said. “What keeps me going through long practices is knowing that we are all in this together and no one on the team is alone because we all go through the feelings and routines together.”


Gutierrez said one ritual she does before each routine is getting in a small circle with her fellow teammates, Jenni Camacho and Jacqueline Sanchez, and shake out the nervousness. She explains that the ritual helps keep them close as teammates and keeps their nervousness low.


Although dancers may have their own ritual individually, as a team they get in a circle and hold hands together. The seniors begins with saying encouraging words to the team. Then someone begins squeezing the other teammates hand and a chain of hand squeezing begins until it reaches the coach. They describe it as: “squeezing the negativity out of their system.” The dancers describe it as Coach Patterson taking all the negativity from the dancers so they are positive going onto the dance floor.


Since competition season is over for the team, they are currently working for their Dance Review that will take place on May 2 and 3 at the Downey Theatre. Senior dancers are working on their solos for the review, in which they showcase their routines they have worked on all year.