Parkrose Trio winners: (from left) Katie Dunn, Eloisa Ribbing, Avery Smith.
Parkrose Trio winners: (from left) Katie Dunn, Eloisa Ribbing, Avery Smith.

Dance team is nearly a year-round activity for many teams. In most cases, dancers audition or try-out in the spring, attend class, workshops, and dance camp over the summer, and begin their half-time and competitive routines in the fall.

Although a winter activity under the OSAA umbrella, dance/drill is active from early fall to early spring, and this year, the DDCA Invitational marks the end of the fall season for dance team.

A handful of competitions during November and December include some categories that are only offered in the fall. This year, the Modern, Contemporary, and Novelty team categories, and the newly formed solo, duo, and trio categories, culminated at the DDCA Invitational on Dec/ 9 at Sherwood Middle School.

The Dance/Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) board of directors sanctions most of the dance team competitions throughout the season and hosted the DDCA Invitational alongside the Sherwood Arrows Dance Team.

Formerly known as the Category Championships, the DDCA Invitational was a three-round event that included more than 80 performances. Although interrupted by a fire alarm due to a bad batch of popcorn, the event had a packed crowd, amazing performances, and in the end, some new victors were crowned. 

The solo, duo, trio category was a full round on its own with solo categories for ninth grade, grades 10-11 and 12th grade. Two duos and two trios balanced out the offerings for this new, exciting category.

The highest scoring solo and highest score of the day (87.67) was performed by freshman Hallie McClintick from Sheldon. The first-place solo for the grade 10-11 group was performed by Cali Rutten from Tigard (81.96), and the senior solo winner was Hailey Maughan from Sherwood (82.00). 

The winning trio was danced by Katie Dunn, Eloisa Ribbing, and Avery Smith from Parkrose (74.58), and the duo category champion was performed by Kinsley Juliano and Olivia Paul from Nelson (76.71).

Although this event is no longer called Category Championships, the Contemporary, Modern, and Novelty routines come to an end after DDCA Invitational, so the championship energy was alive and well for these categories.

This year, the Contemporary categories were dynamic with several teams competing at the Invitational. 1A-5A included two beautiful routines, Valley Catholic and Canby, with Canby taking top honors this week (84.00). The 6A group had eight performances, and Sherwood took the lead (84.75). Clackamas (83.21) and Lakeridge (83.13) were neck and neck as they rounded out the top three.

Novelty was a full category with one division (1A-6A) and Sprague earned first place (79.88), followed by Lebanon (77.83) and Scappoose (73.63). Sprague also took top honors in Modern (84.54), a remarkable accomplishment winning two categories.

Jazz, Hip Hop, Pom, and Kick were also among the styles presented over the weekend. Many of the routines in these categories will be adapted and/or continued throughout the Winter season as dance/drill begins its journey towards the OSAA championships in March. These categories, some of them very crowded, ended up with the following teams rounding out the top three:

  • Pom (6A): Sherwood (82.50), Forest Grove (76.42), Mountainside (75.50)
  • Pom (5A): Lebanon (74.63), West Albany (73.83), Centennial (71.96)
  • Jazz (6A): Lake Oswego (86.63), Mountainside (85.48), Clackamas (77.42)
  • Jazz (1A-5A): South Albany (76.54), Parkrose (74.54), West Albany (72.67)
  • Hip Hop (1A-5A): Scappoose (78.92), Parkrose (76.67), Lebanon (76.08)
  • Hip Hop (6A): Lake Oswego (83.96), Lakeridge (80.63), Sheldon (76.29)
  • Kick (1A-6A): Forest Grove (76.58), Sheldon (72.04) only two performances

The drill down competition honored top three novice and top three advanced. Cleveland had an excellent showing, winning first place in both levels, Harper Nichols (Novice) and Pannonica Maruna (Advanced). Cassidy Piccolo from Scappoose and AdoraBelle Ward from Clackamas were the second- and third-place winners for novice. Bella Lehmann from Lincoln and Julia Li from Sunset earned the second and third place spots, respectively, in Advanced. 

Dance/drill will have a bit of a competition break through the holidays, but the creativity and dance-making continues. State season is upon us and January will introduce offerings for Show and Traditional categories, as they join the line-up with Pom, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Kick.