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Royal dance team brings home third straight state title

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | March 27, 2024 5:17 PM

ROYAL CITY — As high school coaches know, every year is a new team. Seniors graduate, participants decide to do something else, somebody is sidelined due to injury — every year is different. Royal High School dance coach Makynlee Myrick said that’s part of the appeal. 

“It takes, really, a whole year to get the girls competition-ready,” she said. “It’s always pretty cool, though, to know that every year we’re coming in with new members and they’re working with the girls who were on the team from the previous year. It’s always cool to see them come together.”

The Knights successfully defended their state title in 1A/2A military dance competition Saturday night, taking their third straight title in the category. To add to the challenge Royal was the last team, not just for military competition but for the entire tournament, taking the floor at 9 p.m.

“We were the very last routine, so the girls were ready to go. They were ready to perform, which I think was very helpful,” Myrick said. 

The Knights took fifth place in 1A/2A/3A kick competition. 

Karla Rodriguez, a senior and co-captain, said getting a routine the way the team wants it to be is easier with experience. 

“When I first started, it would take me longer to memorize the choreography and really nail it down. But now, my senior year, I feel like my memory for choreography has improved,” she said. “I think for sure, we have to practice every day to perfect it, and not mess up.”

A military routine requires precision, moves in unison and speed. Rodriguez said it takes concentration.

“You have to really think about what you’re doing when you hit a move, a certain move,” she said. “It's all about intensity, and quick and sharp, very sharp.”

Sophomore Emily Pierce said performing the military routine well is a mental as well as a physical challenge

“You have to think about what you’re doing, head to toe,” she said. “Your arms have to be at a certain angle, and your steps moving at the same time. You have to pick yourself apart, head to toe.” 

Pierce said the military routine did take some practice.

“I think you have to drill hard for a long time before you really get it down,” Pierce said. “You can have the moves down, be able to remember it, but it can be a while before you’re confident. Sometimes we do the first performance at a basketball game, and sometimes I don’t feel perfectly comfortable, but you just do your best.”

State was the season finale, and for Rodriguez the end of her high school career. She wanted to go out with a good performance, she said, and that’s what the Knights did.

“Since it was my very last performance, I feel like I really gave it my all. I had no regrets when I got off the floor, so for me, I think I did really well. It was a bittersweet moment because it was my last, but I also tried really hard,” Rodriguez said.

Piercy said the work the team had done all year boosted her confidence.

“I felt like we put in so much work it was kind of hard to really mess it up,” Piercy said. “We drilled it down so many times that going out there was just doing the same thing we’ve always done. So I felt pretty good about our performance when we came off the floor.”

As the team finished the coaches knew it had been a good performance regardless of the outcome, Myrick said.

“I was super-proud of them, my assistant was super-proud of them. We were cheering them on like crazy,” Myrick said. “Whatever the results were in the end, they left everything on the floor. And I think that’s all you can ask for at the end of the season, to have the girls go out there and kill it on the floor.”

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

    The Royal dance team, shown in a February performance, brought home its third straight military dance title from the state competition.
 
 
    Royal dance team members demonstrate the training and practice that led them to a state title.
 
 
    A dancer on the Royal dance team gets a lift from her teammates.