Huskiettes open dance season with experienced leadership

The Sweet Home High School Huskiettes dance team brings a balance of experience that will be reflected in its routine at performances this season.

The team has 10 returning members and eight new members.

Seniors include Captain Jessica Parga, Sara Traeger, Tori Lillich and co-Captain Kayla Froman.

Juniors include co-captains Kyle Lewis and Michaella Parks; officers Rachel Thomas and Kaitlyn Long; and Krystal Juza.

Returning sophomores are Emily Conrad and Laura Mauer. New sophomores are Zecarii Syfert and Scierra Fox.

Freshmen include Crystal Crites, Karrissa Rotenberger, Annie Stofle, Shalese Mancuso and Karese Mancuso.

en and sophomores, so they will be with Ashcraft for awhile after gaining experience and training this year.

The new dancers are relatively inexperienced, Ashcraft said. Three of them have never danced before but bring natural talent, while several were on the Sweet Home Junior High dance team.

“My returning members are great,” she said. “They’re fun, and they’re very talented.”

The dance routine will take the different levels of experience into account, Ashcraft said. “We’re starting with a smaller group on the floor.”

As the routine, 5-1/2 minutes long, progresses the younger members will enter the floor. They will exit the performance again before coming out for a big finale.

Ashcraft has seen other teams do it, she said. It looks good, and it also allows the team to use ability, talent and experience where necessary.

Sometimes, a team will want to do a certain formation that has a specific number of dancers, she said. This will give the Huskiettes the opportunity to set up those formations.

The only time she has heard it was an issue for judges during a performance is when the entrances and exits are not camouflaged well, Ashcraft said. When the movement is hidden well, it can create a dramatic effect in the routine.

“This year, we’re doing a Broadway theme €“ theatrical and over-the-top facial expressions,” Ashcraft said. Parga selected the theme.

Songs include “Big Spender” from “Sweet Charity;” “All I Need Is the Girl” from “Gypsy;” and “The Juggernaut” from “The Wild Party.” The music has a ’60’s, jazzy flavor, similar to the movie “Chicago.” The routine will employ a big Rockettes kick line.

“I was impressed they wanted to do something that was that old,” Ashcraft said.

The routine loosely follows the lyrics of the songs, Ashcraft said. The Huskiettes will spend the most time with the opening song,”Big Spender,” with Lewis, dressed in a pinstripe suit, acting the part of the Big Spender.

“All the girls are trying to get his attention,” Ashcraft said. “And they have to be actresses.”

Lewis goes from one to the other until the next song, “All I Need Is the Girl,” when he is “looking for Ms. Right, I guess.”

The last song, takes the Big Spender into a nightclub setting where a girl asks him to dance.

“It’s like a big show,” Ashcraft said. If it were show dancing, it would have the top hats and canes.

“Broadway’s real corny, so you have to ham it up or it looks silly,” she said.

Ashcraft expects that the 4A state dance competition will include all schools, large and small, again, she said. That’s the way it’s been the past three years, and it makes the competition tougher, with the large teams doing better.

Small schools can do well, she said. Scappoose and Gladstone placed top five, earning trophies, last year, she said. Last year, the Huskiettes placed ninth out of 14 teams.

Improving on last year’s performance is her goal this year, she said. “If we finish top five, that would be just awesome; and they could do it.”

The Huskiettes open their season at a competition on Jan. 16 at Thurston High School in Springfield. They travel to Canby on Jan. 30. On Feb. 6, they perform at Stayton and Feb. 13 at Molalla. They finish their regular season at Sprague High School in Salem on Feb. 27.

State will begin on March 18 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

On Jan. 17 and Jan. 18, the seniors will attend the all-state program.

On Jan. 23, the Huskiettes will host a dance clinic, a fund-raising event, at the main gym at Sweet Home High School.

The cost is $25. Registration forms are available at elementary schools and Little Promises. Those participating will learn two dances. The cost includes the class and a t-shirt.