New dates and format changes have not changed the fact that Iowa is home to the largest high school dance team competition in the country.
Normally taking place in early December, the Iowa State Dance & Drill Team Association’s (ISDTA) Iowa High School and College State Dance team championship has been moved up to November 17-19. The 45th annual competition will see the team and solo championships combined and increased from two days of dancing to three.
“This spring it became clear that the many aspects of a typical dance season would need to be re-imagined; practice, competition, and routine choreography would need to be different,” said ISDTA Executive Director Andrea Dana. “ISDTA is focused on preserving the state experience, while ensuring teams and soloists, ISDTA staff and the association remained safe, and creating opportunity out of the challenges that COVID-19 has presented.”
Taking place at Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines, team competition categories include pom, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, military, kick, hoopla, light, novelty, prop, color guard, all-male, co-ed and show production. Teams and soloists are divided into classes based on school enrollment. They are evaluated and judged by industry professionals from all corners of the United States.
According to Dana, the award ceremony portion of competition will also look different this year.
“In order to maintain ISDTA’s high standards of competition, we have invited our judges to evaluate virtually,” said Dana. “Because of this, ISDTA will host a virtual awards ceremony Saturday, Dec. 5.”
Seventeen college teams and 235 high school teams make up the nearly 500 routines plus 780 solos that will be performed in a three-day period. Teams and soloists earn points for choreography, execution, difficulty and showmanship.
“For more than 40 years, ISDTA has been promoting the sports of dance and drill team,” said Dana. “Although things will look different this year, make no mistake, these students are here to compete and they want to win.”
Entry fee for spectators is $15 per person. Tickets to attend in person and live stream access will be available to pre-purchase in November; information will posted at www.isdta.net. Spectators will be required to wear a mask while in the venues. Competitors must also wear a mask except while performing.
The schedule for the local teams are:
• Waverly-Shell Rock High School Color Guard:
Nov. 19, 3:14 p.m. Class II Color Guard
• Waverly-Shell Rock High School Dance Team:
Nov. 19, 4:38 p.m. Class VI Hip Hop
Nov. 19, 5:41 p.m. Class X pom
A complete list of participating schools and a schedule of performances can be viewed at www.isdta.net/pages/resources.
Established in 1976, the Iowa State Dance/Drill Team Association advocates for the sports of dance, drill team and color guard. As a valued leader in the sport of dance, ISDTA cultivates student growth in the art and athleticism of dance. For more information and to see a list of upcoming events, visit www.isdta.net.