Kicking COVID

Through the high and lows of COVID, the Bomber Dance Team has persevered.

The+Bomber+dance+team+presents+their+high+kick+performance+and+last+weekends+showcase.

Nathan Baszuro

The Bomber dance team presents their high kick performance and last weekend’s showcase.

The girls practice their facial expressions as they prepare to perform in front of the first full crowd in 2 years. Chanting from the fans pervades the halls and the seats are packed, filled with spectators eager to see a maskless performance. The intensive resonance of the crowd is a substantial difference compared to the preceding seasons’ restricted and minimized crowds. Nerves and excitement cause a flurry of emotions from the dancers as they anticipate dancing in their first preview show since 2020. Changing COVID-19 regulations have brought erratic alterations to the Bomber Dance Team’s season, including their practices, competitions, and team bonding activities. 

Bomber Dance Team (BDT) curtailments first arose in the 2020-2021 season. With the country on strict lockdown, zoom meetings and at home workouts became a new reality for dancers. The team practiced in the compact spaces of their rooms and attempted to discern the glitching movements on their screens. Nearing competitions and the continuing stay at home mandate left the girls with no choice but to learn their choreography online. Dancers had to assimilate the dance without being able to see their teammates, formations, or coaches.
After three weeks of perplexing online workouts and zoom meetings, the girls were permitted to return to practice. Although stay at home restrictions were lifted, COVID-19 rules were still in place. Masks were enforced during practices and the dancers had to use their eyes to show facial expressions, rather than their lips. Converting to working out with masks was a great challenge for many dancers. The girls also had to implement the choreography taught over zoom into practice.“It was difficult to put the choreography we learned over the screen into a real life practice,” says Kyesha Smith, a senior on the dance team. “We didn’t know our formations and we had to learn them in a short amount of time because competitions were nearing.” 

It was difficult to put the choreography we learned over the screen into a real life practice”

— Kyesha Smith

Competitions in the 2020-2021 season looked very different compared to the previous years. Dance teams were given a block schedule and performed their dances with 2-3 teams at a time, compared to 12 teams like the foregoing years. This meant less time was spent at the competitions and the girls had a tight schedule with little time to get ready. After the competition, awards were shown online on a live stream. Modified amounts of tickets meant minimized crowds and smaller fan sections. Not only this but the habitual team bonding activities and sleepovers were prohibited. Although there were many struggles, the girls were happy they even got a season at all. 

The circumstances were unfavorable, but the girls prospered nevertheless. The team watched the live streams together and held a “fake” outdoor ceremony following every competition. They kept a positive sentiment regardless of the difficult situations. “The attitude amongst the girls never changed,” Oliva Villareal states, a senior on the BDT. “We still had so much fun and made the most of our COVID season.” 

Regarding the 2021-2022 season, dance is gradually returning back to normal. Masks and social distancing precautions are no longer mandatory. The girls also got their first preview, a show where the dance team shows their routines for the season, in two years. Competition tickets are no longer limited and fans are allowed to sit in a fan section, rather than an assigned seat. “This year is bringing back everything that we have all missed from last year, like being able to have JV and varsity practice together without masks and have the normal competitions with the lively crowd that is back and cheering us on!” States Morgan Brandel, a Sophomore on the BDT.

The group leaps towards the audience for a full immersion. (Nathan Baszuro)

While these lifted restrictions are propitious for the girls and fans, concerns about the rising COVID cases and possible returning restrictions raise questions about what the remainder of the season may look like. While the rest of the season appears to be almost completely back to customary, the girls are ready to adjust to any change. 

Adapting to COVID-19 restrictions, altering aspects of practice and competitions, and almost losing a whole season is not easy.  Although the previous dance seasons were considerably different compared to the COVID-19 seasons, the girls still kept an uplifting and positive outlook. This attitude has now carried into the 2021-2022 season as the girls start to see promising disparities in fan sections, competitions, awards, and practices. As the current season is steadily shifting back to normal the girls’ previous accounts have prepared them to be ready for any unexpected changes.