Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

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Paly Dance Team wins Nationals

For the second year in a row, the Paly dance team took first place at the national contest in the open small hip hop category.
The+Paly+dance+team%2C+along+with+coach+Alana+Williamson+in+front%2C+pose+for+a+photo+at+the+National+Tournament.+Photo+courtesy+of+Rachel+Ho.+
The Paly dance team, along with coach Alana Williamson in front, pose for a photo at the National Tournament. Photo courtesy of Rachel Ho.

Last week, you may have spotted members of the Paly dance team huddled together around a white PAUSD van, decorating it with green hearts and writing “PADT” in on the windows. What you might not have realized is that this team was gearing up to take a six hour drive down to Anaheim, CA for the high school dance National Competition. After competing against some incredibly skilled competition, Paly dance drove home in that same van with a first place trophy after they won the open small hip hop competition. 

This year’s team included many first-time members, and replicating last year’s success would be a challenge for the team. Senior captain Rachel Ho helped guide the team through the year as they rehearsed their routine to perfection. 

“This year’s team was different as we had so many new members, and I was worried about living up to our success from last year when there were so many veterans,” she said. “However, this team worked so hard this entire season and never gave up, even when we struggled with new challenges. Winning felt like all our hard work had really paid off.” 

According to junior Melanie Bonilla, the team had been working on this routine for months leading up to the competition.

[The Paly dance team] worked extremely hard this whole year and especially this weekend to make that win happen, and let me tell you, competition was tough to beat this year.

— Coach Alana Williamson

“We first learned this choreography in September and have been cleaning and practicing it pretty consistently since then,” she said. “We had practice every day in the week leading up to Nationals and practiced for hours the day before as well so we felt ready before competing.” 

To some, the sheer amount of hours that these dancers put in may seem excessive, but for perfect collaboration and unity as a team, it is crucial, especially for the Paly dance team which had suffered some setbacks.

“I think these last practices were especially helpful because we had some injuries in the weeks leading up to nationals but in the last days it was great to see everything come together like we hoped,” Bonilla said.

Implementing a new strategy this year, Ho encouraged teammates to continue practicing even more outside of their numerous practices, which helped to polish the performance.

“During practice we would help each other by giving each other corrections to work on, and then team members could go home and watch the rehearsal videos and practice the sections that they especially struggled with,” she said. “We also implemented extra conditioning and strength exercises toward the end, which I think helped everyone stay strong.”

Photo courtesy of Rachel Ho.

Paly dance team coach Alana Williamson helped lead the team through a challenging competitor field. 

“[The Paly dance team] worked extremely hard this whole year and especially this weekend to make that win happen, and let me tell you, competition was tough to beat this year,” she said. “I am extremely proud of the dancers on this team.” 

The win sparked an emotional response for the team as the fruits of their labor came to fruition. 

“As soon as they announced that we placed first, we all started crying,” Bonilla said. “We were all worried we didn’t place and we worked really hard the whole year so it felt really good to have that work pay off! It was one of my favorite moments because we all got to experience that happiness together”

With their second consecutive national title, the team is turning their focus on their show in the spring where they perform all of their routines for the school community, as well as two brand new routines. Come support their show in the spring and come to watch their incredible dances (officially best in the country)!

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About the Contributor
Grace Gormley
Grace Gormley, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! I'm Grace, Editor-in-Chief for Viking's 2023-2024 school year. I am a four-year member of the Paly varsity swim team, and I also played water polo for Paly as well. I also am on the  Speech and Debate team and president of Best Buddies club. Fun Fact: I'm the third Gormley sibling on Viking!

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