Drill team not just glitter, tights

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 1:49 PM

Sierra Vashro

“Sprint, girls, faster! Go, go, go!” My coach screams at us from across the school gym.

It’s 6 a.m. and here we are conditioning for the upcoming drill team season. What is drill team, you ask? It is a dance team that most high schools have as an extracurricular activity. No, I’m not talking about tutus, glitter and “shakin’ your booty.” I am talking about hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears.

And get this, all that is BEFORE the intense dance training begins.

“ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE …” my in-pain, sweaty team is screaming at the top of their lungs. Push-ups, yippee. “And come down!” my coach yells. Our workout is FINALLY over! YES! Yeah, just kidding, we get to dance now. And if you dare say that dance isn’t a workout, put your dance shoes where your mouth is and get on that dang floor.

Roaming the halls of many Top of Utah high schools are the sweaty dancers of the drill team. Why are we sweaty? We practice before AND after school, so we don’t exactly smell that great throughout the day ... sorry, other students. Drill team isn’t just a dance team, it’s like a career. We eat, sleep and breathe dance! That is right next to our social lives, what social lives we have, and family life, school, homework and weekends (which are a blessing).

The weekly routine goes like this: Wake up, put on my practice clothes, pack what clothes I need to get ready for later, eat a high-protein breakfast, brush my teeth, and I am out the door.

Practice normally starts at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and lasts until school starts. However, the first class of the day is actually drill, so add on about another hour and 20 minutes of practice. You want to know the best part? After messing our hair up and dripping sweat for three hours, we have 10 minutes to get ready for class.

Then it’s seven hours of school to go, about two hours to do homework after school, and practice again, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on how well we do.

The drill season runs all year with about two weeks of downtime in the summer. During early-morning summer practices, we are mastering our technique; taking classes in nutrition, makeup, and hair; ordering our clothing; and working with professional choreographers who create our six competition dances. That doesn’t even include the dances we learn at Basic Dance Training camp. BDT is three days of being stuck in Park City High School, and let me tell you, it is NOT easy. At camp we learn five other dances that we perfect and perform at games and assemblies during the school year.

When school finally starts up and we are busy perfecting 11 dances for the year, life is full of days that leave us both stronger and very emotional at the end of the day. For those of you who think that this is an easy sport, you couldn’t be more wrong. Our coach isn’t pleased with us sometimes and, yes, we get a mouthful. This goes for every single drill team in the world as well, because we don’t have it easy.

There are days when you are too tired to even touch your pile of homework. There are days when you just can’t seem to get the moves right and your coach is frustrated with you, and days when your friends are angry that, yet again, another practice has gotten in the way of any plans they had hoped to make with you. I am not going to lie; this sport is one of the hardest, most demanding things I’ve ever experienced — physically, emotionally and mentally.

However, there are so many rewards to this sport. Drill team is a family; your friends for life. The girls you meet and dance with are your sisters. They look out for you, dance with you, cry with you, and grow stronger with you through it all. You learn many, valuable life lessons, such as respect, discipline, loyalty, work ethic, passion, confidence, self-motivation, dependability, humility and acceptance.

These girls and your coaches teach you things that will take you far in life, and if you are a shy girl, drill team gives you the confidence to show off the exact opposite. ... I cannot stress that more!

Overall, drill team is the most eye-opening and rewarding experience I have ever been a part of.

I highly suggest drill team for any girl that is as passionate about dance as she is for life, family or friends. It is competitive, demanding and vigorous, but it is also a very positive life-altering reward in a young dancer’s life.

Sierra Vashro is a junior at Weber High School who believes that literature can empower. Email her at sievashro@gmail.com.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.