Ankeny dance team competes at ISDTA state competition


Photo published with permission by Dallas Ott

The Ankeny dance team celebrate their team spirit at dance camp.

Mackenzie Slump, Social Media Manager

The Ankeny dance team prepares all year for the moment they step out onto the stage at the Iowa State Dance/Drill Team Association (ISDTA) competition Friday, Dec. 3. Through hard work, early morning practices, and game-day performances, the girls, with the help of their coach Dallas Ott, are ready for the ISDTA  state competition where they are up against multiple schools such as Waukee, Ankeny Centennial, and Urbandale. 

Every year the dance team has team members graduate while they gain new team members. As freshmen become old enough to join, and others decide it is their year to audition. Although the team is ready to face the competition, the continuous cycle has led to some adversity and challenges for the team. 

“Almost everyone on our team is brand new to varsity,” sophomore Kyra Nugent said. “So, making the team actually function and communicate as a team, instead of soloists, has been tricky at times.”

To combat these challenges, the dance team rigorously practice their lyrical, pom, hip hop, and six solo performances for the big day. 

“We have brought in different dance studio owners to help clean our dances,” senior soloist Jordyn Dykstra said. “We have also been cleaning our dances every practice, along with adding in extra practices to ensure our dances are looking great.”

Dance team coach Dallas Ott elaborates on the experience she and the girls have had this year as they prepare for ISDTA. She speaks highly of the team as they work together and work hard.

“[There have been] countless hours of practicing and drilling our dances,” Ott said. “They practice every week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.”

All the hard work, practices, and cleaning has paid off for the Ankeny dance team as they are ready to give it their all and deliver high-energy and precise performances at the Wells Fargo Arena and Hyvee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa. 

But, winning is not the only thing that matters to this team. Many of the team members value the experiences they have gained from belonging to the high school’s team that have allowed them to be a part of something big at the school. 

“I think [the] dance team has impacted me in the fact that I get to be more involved in AHS,” sophomore Emily Alleman said. “I spend lots of time at the school and being part of things such as pep assemblies, competitions, football games, and more. I really think it’s been a great way to make friends. I have gained really strong bonds with a lot of the girls on the team.”

The experiences that come from team building, dancing, and competing have aided in the building of character within all the girls, which is a large goal of coach Ott. 

“I hope they gain the experience of being a part of a team and something bigger than just themselves,” Ott said. “How to be respectful, responsible, and accountable. Most of all I hope they cherish the memories and look back on them when they grow up […].”