They danced like no one was watching.
Except people were watching.
And the people who were watching were judges for one of the nation’s biggest high school dance competitions. So the timing was good.
The Lancer Dancers put in a weekend’s worth of amazing performances at the National Dance Alliance’s championships in Orlando, Fla., bringing home second place in the Jazz category and third prize in the Hip Hop category. The team also won the Technical Excellence Award in Hip Hop.
It’s a huge honor for the Lancers, who were competing against teams from dance meccas on the coasts. The groups that placed in front of SM East in Hip Hop were a team from New York that hired a professional industry choreographer (they got second) and another team that had competed on America’s Got Talent (they got first).
Last year, the girls placed fifth in the Jazz category and didn’t even make the finals for Hip Hop. This year, they missed first place in Jazz by less than a point.
“It was just the most exciting weekend,” coach Alexis Bugler said in an email. “The girls spontaneously erupted into the school song after both awards ceremonies! Other teams were coming up to the girls and saying, ‘Oh, you’re Shawnee Mission East! We love you guys!'”