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Missing their chance: Restrictions force Platinum Dance Team to sit out on Nationals

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Missing their chance: Restrictions force Platinum Dance Team to sit out on Nationals

The 2015 Platinum Dance Team poses together in Orlando, Fla. before performing their pom routine.

The 2015 Platinum Dance Team poses together in Orlando, Fla. before performing their pom routine.

Photo credit to Katie Rokusek

The 2015 Platinum Dance Team poses together in Orlando, Fla. before performing their pom routine.

Photo credit to Katie Rokusek

Photo credit to Katie Rokusek

The 2015 Platinum Dance Team poses together in Orlando, Fla. before performing their pom routine.

Hannah Lederman, Video Editor

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As winter sports come to a close, the Platinum Dance Team finished their award-winning season on a high note by claiming second place in both jazz and pom at the 2019 State Championship, losing the first place honor by only a fraction of a point. Yet many on the team say they can’t help but be disappointed.

Many regarded their season as remarkable, but the team was left wishing it didn’t end after the state competition. For the past few years, however, the dance team has been restricted from attending the UDA High School National Dance Team Competition. This change came from rules set in place that barred travel to a state not contiguous to Iowa.

Platinum had great success when they used to compete in Orlando, representing Pleasant Valley in the competition’s semifinals in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. 2017 alumna and former team captain, Marie Delessio, said, “It gave us an experience that we will never get from dancing at state. We get to see teams from around the nation and it gives us an idea of how we can be improving.”

After the 2015 rule change, however, this opportunity is now impossible.

In 2016, Platinum became a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, unlike many of their fellow dance teams in the state. This induction came with guidelines for travelKinsey Paulson, another 2017 alumna and former Platinum member, said, “Our team grew stronger both within our bonds as well as our motivation because of this opportunity.”

Head Coach of Platinum, Katie Rokusek, said, “ We understood the decision to discontinue attending nationals and have found other ways to continue growing our program.” The opportunity to sanction Platinum as a sport is very rare for the state of Iowa.

Brittany Kissel, Platinum’s assistant coach, agrees that attendance at nationals did something for the team that no other experience could seem to replicate. “I did not see the spark ignite until Orlando. It was like something finally clicked and their eyes were opened into what magnitude this sport can have and what possibilities are available,” Kissel said.

Kissel said It was more than just the emotional experience, however. “College dance team coaches recognized that Pleasant Valley was a highly competitive program and attending the competition served as a form of recruitment for college teams.”

The Platinum dancers and their coaches say being recognized as a sport by Pleasant Valley is an honor that is unparalleled by their fellow schools. However, as high school dance teams from across the nation gathered in Orlando, Fla. and began competing at the UDA Nationals on Feb. 1, it was an honor that many PV dancers found to be a little bittersweet for the time being.

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Missing their chance: Restrictions force Platinum Dance Team to sit out on Nationals