The Forest Lake Dance Team cleaned up at the Universal Dance Association camp July 17-20 at the Marriott Minneapolis Southwest by winning five blue ribbons.
Fourteen Forest Lake dancers participated in the 200-plus dancer camp, which featured 11 teams from around the Midwest, including Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska. The girls took home the Sweepstakes Trophy for earning all blue ribbons on performance of routines learned at the camp. Concordia Academy, Rochester Mayo, North Branch and Suburban East Conference rival Mounds View were Forest Lake’s Minnesota competition.
The Forest Lake team also earned first place in Home Routine, Drill Down (attentiveness to dance commands), Camp Leadership and Most Team Spirit.
In addition to the team awards, three upcoming Forest Lake seniors earned All-American honors with their solo performances. With this accolade, Mia Leeson, Rachel Rue and Karlee Kluge are invited to perform in London over the 2013-14 holiday break.
Head coach Cheryl Smoczyk said she wept when the Camp Leadership award was presented to the Forest Lake Dance Team, as it exemplified the qualities of all of her dancers, who took charge of their squads despite being split up from one another. She also said the Most Team Spirit award was a feel-good moment.
“It was kind of our Sally Field’s moment, you know? ‘They like us, they actually like us!’” Smoczyk said. “When you are getting past ‘good’ to the ‘great’ stage, lots of teams tend to see you as the enemy. The thing is, our dancers are such great human beings that other teams still feel they can ask them questions in a learning environment and they won’t be mocked or frozen out. Our kids will give the helping hand — that just feels so awesome to me.”