By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
The Houston High School Dance team is ready to turn up the jazz competitions for the 2021 season.
Head coach Maya Upton said both varsity and junior varsity teams will focus on jazz this year, with the kick team likely returning next year.
The uncertainty of COVID-19 at the beginning of the season – or even if there would be a season and what it would look like – led the team to decide to focus on creating strong jazz routines, she said.
When they finally perform for judges, Upton said the goal will be building upon the team’s most common low scores from past seasons, which are transitions and formations.
“With six dancers, finding new and creative transitions and formations can be really challenging since the amount of different formations that six dancers can make is limited,” she said.
Thus, the big goal is to “hide” when the team transitions to a formation change.
“The dancers have been really dedicated to reaching this goal and raising our scores in these categories,” Upton added.
She cites dance as an important school sport because it teachers dancers how to adapt to ever-changing feedback and scores from the judges, which can be difficult.
“It isn’t like other sports where you know that if you do a certain thing correctly, you will always get a point in return,” she said. “Dance is a little more frustrating in that way because all season long, you are trying to create the routine that will score you the most points and even when you think you’re doing everything right, the judges might not see it that way and then you are left trying to figure out what should stay the same and what should be changed.”
Though it’s a lot of trial and error, Upton notes it teachers resilience and requires determination to not get frustrated.
This is also Upton’s first year as Houston’s dance coach and she’s excited to be here.
Upton’s mom was the dance coach when she was growing up and Upton eventually joined the team as well. When she left for college, she remained a loyal fan of the team.
“I just love the sport so much and seeing all the progress that Houston has made every year really drives me to want to become the best coach,” she said.