Patriot High dance team wins Jamz Nationals
Updated: March 1, 2016
The ladies of the Patriot High hip-hop dance team channeled their inner Janet Jackson last week to dominate the Jamz All Star Dance National Championship at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Patriot girls took home first prize – winning not only their own division, but posting the highest score of any team in any division.
"What they did last Friday was a flawless routine that just brought tears to my eyes," said Kimberly Sanchez, dance adviser for Patriot High.
Patriot's score of 87.5 out of 100 was the best of more than 20 teams – including co-ed and all-male squads – from across the nation that had qualified for Jamz Nationals through previous success in regional competitions. Judging is based on a range of factors, including creativity and variety of hip hop, difficulty of routine, athleticism, and presentation and execution.
Patriot's winning routine was set to a mix of artists including Drake and, yes, Janet Jackson. And the result reflects a dedication to craft: The girls practice at least three hours per day on weekdays, and four hours on Saturdays, Sanchez said, with no class credit for their work – all while maintaining GPAs of 2.7 or higher.
The group is so dedicated that Sanchez, a history and psychology teacher, added dance mirrors to her classroom to allow for extra practice time when the gym is busy. A parent found the mirrors at a garage sale, Sanchez said, and the school custodian installed them.
Beyond honing their own skills, the dance champions routinely support other Patriot athletes by making posters and dancing at games. "They have such a big heart," Sanchez said of her squad. "Not just for dance, but for school spirit as well."
And in another twist, most of Patriot's student-dancers come not from studio backgrounds, but from the dance program at Jurupa Middle School. JMS is a great place for girls to start learning the craft – and prepare to channel their inner Janet Jackson.
Tryouts for next year's Patriot hip hop dance team will be held in May. For more information, please contact Kimberly Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org