Despite Suspended Sports a Des Moines Dance Team Prepares for a Virtual State Competition


DES MOINES, Iowa  —  Even with activities suspended in the Des Moines Public School District, a Des Moines dance team made sure they would still be able to compete at state.

The Lincoln High School dance team coach Ashley Johnson knew this year was going to be different when her team, the Railettes, started rehearsals on July 10th.

“The girls literally started learning one of their first date routines that week, we just kind of went straight in on everything,” Johnson said.

Once Johnson found out the in-person rehearsals were about to end, she made a spur of the moment decision…

“Let’s take what we have and record it, so that we can at least be prepared,” Johnson said.

“We thought it was gonna be a chill practice it was not. But we buckled down,” Lincoln High School Dance Team Member Sophia Suarez Quilty said.

And they became the only Iowa school to record a routine for the state competition in November.

“We are allowing video virtual submissions, even if we are doing the in-person competition,” Iowa State Dance and Drill Team Association Executive Director Andrea Dana said.

Dana said there will still be a level playing field.

“Our judging is actually going to be done virtually after they compete in person so everything’s going to be recorded whether they’re in Des Moines, or if they send in a virtual submission,” Dana said.

And that’s not the only change this year.

“The choreography restrictions really summed up are six feet apart throughout the entire routine except for within transitions because those are quick and no physical contact or sharing of equipment such as poms, or props,” Dana said.

The team is thankful their coach gave them a chance to win a state title.

“Even though it was crazy. I’m glad we did that because if we don’t physically get to be there at least we have the video, so our school is still represented,” Suarez Quilty said.

The state dance competition is November 17th, 18th, and 19th at Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall.


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