Conant Charrelles qualify for state
All media was provided by Jennifer Crassweller.
Placing third at conference, fourth at sectionals, qualifying for state, the Conant Charrelles had a successful season despite changes to the competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic challenged how the team typically would have competed this season. Dancers had to wear masks and stay six feet apart at all times. Teams were not allowed to do lifts or partnering along with other safety guidelines. Dance routines had to be pre-recorded and submitted days in advance.
Unlike previous years, the Varsity Charrelles were unable to hire a choreographer due to a lack of fundraising at the beginning of the season. As a result, Varsity Coach Jennifer Crassweller and the four varsity captains choreographed the entire routine. “It was challenging,” Crassweller said, “but we were never short on ideas!”
Varsity captain Jessica Miller, ‘21, said, “The five of us were up for the challenge and were determined to execute the vision we had!” A majority of the routine planning was done virtually, too, though performances were eventually in person. “It took a lot of Zoom calls, summer meetings, and many conversations over text to bring our ideas to life.”
Despite still being able to compete, even with original choreography, the team still missed traditional aspects of performing in front of an audience. Varsity Captain Alyssa Digioia, ‘21, missed this. “There’s something so special about getting the chance to show off all of our hard work to others as well as being able to finish strong and having people there to cheer us on,” she said.
The team also missed the spirit and energy of competition days themselves. “As a coach, I miss seeing the dancers’ smiles and the thrill of in-person competitions,” Crassweller said.
“I also genuinely miss the feeling right before we would compete in person and it is something I will never forget,” Miller said. “Everyone is so supportive of each other right until we step onto the floor even though we are all so nervous.”
Although there were obstacles posed by the pandemic, Crassweller believes the team’s morale has not been impacted. “We are a very tight-knit, positive program that emphasizes as much team bonding as possible, so when we were virtual, we created fun virtual activities for our team to do. Our dancers are incredible and all work very well together.”
“We did not get the chance to travel on our bus, hang out and watch all of the other teams, or have the same adrenaline there is while performing in front of an audience,” Digioia said, “however our team was able to make the best of it and ended our season strong!”