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TROJAN DANCE TEAM: Trojettes to host first home dance competition

Jordan Willi/Daily Globe The Trojetts dance team practices one of their dance routines Wednesday in prepartation for their home dance invitational taking place today in the Worthington High School gym.1 / 2
Jordan Willi/Daily Globe Members of the Trojettes dance team kick their legs high into the air during a practice run of a dance routine Wednesday at Prairie Elementary School in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Trojettes dance team has finally come home.

At 6 p.m. today, Worthington will host its first dance team competition inside the WHS gymnasium. The Trojettes varsity and junior varsity squads will be battling Canby/Minneota, Marshall and Wabasso.

Each team will perform two types of dances: kick and jazz.

"There are requirements for both dances but, for kick, the girls have to keep kicking between 50 and 75 kicks in the span of 3½ minutes," Worthington head coach Tasha Raymo said. "They have to kick as high as they can in sync while making different kinds of formations."

Jazz dance is a bit more difficult than kick.

"It's more technical because they are constantly turning and jumping with only some kicking," Raymo said.

There are 38 dancers in the Worthington program. Raymo said about 20 performers are used for the varsity kick routines and 10 performers are employed for the varsity jazz routines.

In kick dance, each performer can be connected with their arms laying atop their teammates shoulder. In jazz dance, each perfomer is usually unattached.

The Trojettes are graded by judges, who are looking for the effectiveness of a routine and if the routine is visually appealing, among other things.

"The judges are looking to grade the girls on technique, making sure their feet are pointed and their legs are straight, along with their posture and stamina," Raymo said.

The Trojettes have more than 20 different formations that they use during competition. Some of them include a long line, a diamond and a plus sign.

Raymo said the dancers must always have movement in their routines.

"We do a lot of running and we repeat some of our routines three or four times a day to build up their stamina," Raymo said.

Assistant coach Randi Mimick said the dance team practices for about 14 hours a week in preparation for Saturday competitions that can span the entire day.

"We leave for some of our Saturday meets by 6 a.m. and won't be home until 9 p.m. that night," Mimick said.

But there won't be any traveling for the Trojettes tonight.

"There is a lot that goes into creating a home competition," Raymo said. "I think we are the first one that want to get this done. We have some very helpful parents, who have put a lot of work into it."

One of the problems preventing a Worthington home meet in previous years has been its location. Most of the schools that offer dance teams are not located this far south in southwest Minnesota.

"The closest school to us is Marshall, which is an hour away," Raymo said.

Judges must agree to attend the meet and a deejay must be found so that the teams have music while they dance.

Raymo said the Trojettes can generate money to pay for the meet by selling concessions and T-shirts.

Morgan Jensen and Rachel Drietz are thrilled, along with their teammates, to be dancing in the Trojettes' first home meet.

"It means a lot to be able to dance in the first Worthington home meet. It's like making history," Jensen, a senior, said. "We are starting a new tradition here."

Drietz agreed.

"It's exciting because we have never had a home meet before," Drietz, a junior, said. "I think some people don't respect the dance team because they don't think it's much or know much about us. Sometimes, they compare us to cheerleaders. We don't use pom-poms. Having this home meet will show people that we work hard and long to be dancers."