The Brainerd High School Dance Team, known as the Kixters, went to work this week to prepare for the 2002-03 season.
Head Coach Cindy Clough said the 44-member varsity team is working on its first precision kick routine to a driving mix of technotronic music. In jazz, the group is doing a mix to a remake of a song from the early 1980s called "Dance."
"The music has not come together as easily as we had hoped on this one, so it has become a bit time consuming," Clough said of the kick routine. "The choreography is going great so once we have our music properly edited we will be all set."
The dance team's first performance is the annual holiday show in November. The team will perform at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at Brainerd High School. Graduates are invited to perform at this show and practice for them is scheduled Nov. 29.
The dance team has two competitions in December, starting with the third annual Big Chill Competition on Dec. 7 at the high school. Dec. 14, the dance team will travel to either Maple Grove or Lakeville.
In January, the dance team has three contests. Jan. 14 the team travels to Sauk Rapids; Jan. 25 the team travels to St. Cloud Tech High School for the Central Lakes Conference championship meet; and Jan. 28 Brainerd will host a small invitational.
The dance team will compete for the section title Feb. 15 at St. Cloud Tech High School. If the team qualifies it will compete in the state competition the following Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Burnsville's dance team is Brainerd's toughest match in high kick, said Clough. Wayzata and Apple Valley are also tough matches.
Clough said the team is always working on new skills. The team watches dance videos and studies other dancers to get ideas. This year the team is working to improve its skills in jazz, an area where the team has scored lower in meets in the past.
"Competitively we set our goal to try to place in the top three at all meets we attend," said Clough. "We do our best. ... We try to achieve at a certain level and the high level dancers help bring the lower ones to that level."
The dance team has won the conference title every year since 1998. The dance team had won the state championship in high kick eight times since 1980. It also made the final round in state competition every year, except 2001.
The dance team has seen several changes in its organization in the past few years. The Kixters name was changed to the Brainerd High School Dance Team last school year and it became part of the Minnesota State High School League in 1995.
This season Clough and Assistant Coach Carrie Kavanaugh have 20 seniors, 15 juniors and nine sophomores on the varsity dance team. Team captains are seniors Jamie Guderian and Jessie Klein.
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