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Jazzy Jays

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Liz Gammon

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There are thousands of things to think about on the stage as the lights hit and the music starts. Applause perfectly completes months of hard work portrayed in just a few minutes. Though other sports may have ended, the Sapphires’ work is just beginning. Right now the Sapphires are practicing for the KC Classic, regionals at Lee Summit North, nationals in Orlando and the Missouri State Dance Team Championships at Saint Charles.

“The KC Classic is one of the fundraisers we do for the Sapphires,” freshman Natalia Knoke said. “It’s a competition where other dance teams like Lee Summit North and Lee Summit West all can come here and compete. It also kind of acts as the opening to the entire competition season.”

Both varsity and junior varsity teams have been helping organize, set up and run the event for these teams. They are expecting 48 different dance teams to attend the KC Classic this year on December 9. The Sapphires have been constantly working for these upcoming events by drilling different tricks and turns during each practice to make sure they are perfect.

“We try to choose the toughest competitions to prepare us for nationals so we can do the best we can,” senior Annie Pottios said.

The varsity Sapphires have practices three times a week that range from two to three hours.

“Practices are pretty intense,” Pottios said. “We utilize our time really well and get a lot done. We had a solid practice where our coaches said they really see our dances coming together which really helped our confidence. I still think we could work even harder though, so we can do the absolute best we can.”

Though these ladies are anxious to see their hard work pay off, they are also excited for the experience and to see other teams flaunt their hard work.

“The reason the competitions are so special, to me at least, is because they’re so big and there are so many teams,” junior Brynn Baymiller said. “It’s a lot different than other sports. In other sports the opposing teams kind of hate each other but dance is a lot more supportive in my experience. We’ll go and watch other teams and cheer them on. We’re competitive in the sense that we want to do good but were not overly competitive against other people.”

The national in early February is a huge focus for the varsity Sapphires and they are already practicing for it. Last year they came in eighth place and this year they hope to make it into the top five.

“Each dancer has a goal to individually improve from the practice the day before,” coach Maggie Willis said. “They are working hard each and every day and we are very proud of their strong work ethic and drive.”


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Jazzy Jays