In 2019, the Georgia High School Association sanctioned dance as an official GHSA team winter sport, creating competitive opportunities for artistic athletics to have its place. If you were at South Forsyth High School’s gym on Saturday, Dec. 12, or at West Laurens on Saturday, Jan. 8, no doubt, you would have felt very much like you were at a home basketball game — with just as much sweat, focus and team spirit, except with a lot more makeup and hair spray. Similar to competitive cheerleading, dance teams from public schools across Georgia perform mesmerizing choreographed stunts with an artistic flair, providing fans with both entertainment and adrenaline.
Several invitationals are scheduled throughout the season leading up to GHSA’s state final invitational in February at Columbus Convention and Trade Center. The first of these opportunities, the War Eagle Warm-up Dance Invitational, was held on Dec. 12, at South Forsyth High School. The second, the Westside Showdown Dance Invitational, was held at West Laurens High School on Jan. 8.
In its fourth year of existence, Buford High School’s dance team under head coach Ashley Smith and assistant coach Katelynn Moon has prepared four entries for the season competitions.
The group’s competition program includes two group and two solo entries this season. While the solo entries were not presented at West Laurens, BHS junior Avery Hardee performed a jazz routine to the song “Beggin’” recorded by Maneskin at the Dec. 12 competition. Junior Gracey Conaway was awarded fifth place in 3-6A solo for her contemporary performance of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by recording artist Lorde. Both solo routines were choreographed by Smith.
Buford’s 10-member dance team, comprised of Sela Brannan, Mariana Borja, Annika Bouton, Gracey Conaway, Lilli Engledow, Kate Harkness, Tanner Moon, Olivia Su and co-captains Avery Hardee and Sydney Holton, have presented their two routines choreographed by professional dancers Lauren Piper and Maddie Govedich at both competitions. In the jazz category, the group presents a stirring rendition of the song “Prayin” by Kesha, which earned the team third place in 6-7A Jazz at the Dec. 12 competition. In the pom category, the squad dances to a mix of upbeat 1980s pop songs and came in second for all classifications in the pom category at the Jan. 8 event.
The group is currently preparing for its next competition, the 5Star Dance Invitational, to be held Jan. 22 at Heritage High School in Ringgold.
Fans can follow the BHS dance team’s season on the BHS athletics website at bufordwolves.com.
Featured photo by Ashley Smith.