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Five Pendleton High School seniors were named to the 2021 Dance Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) All-State Team earlier this month. They are:
According to the article on the OSAA website, in February, 102 senior dancers from around the state auditioned for the All-State Team. This represented 51 dancers from 6A schools, 42 from 5A schools and nine from 4A-1A schools.
The DDCA has sponsored the All-State Team since 2011; prior to that it was sponsored by the OSAA. Unlike other All-State Teams, only dancers in their senior year of high school are eligible to audition.
Each dancer must be recommended by their coach as meeting core dance skills, must be in good standing with their team/school, and all members of their coaching staff must be members of the DDCA in order to be eligible to audition.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to the All-State process. All candidates learned a routine via video and submitted their audition via video. Each candidate was judged by a panel of three judges.
The article stated that being named to the All-State Dance Team is one of the highest individual honors a senior team member can achieve, and making the team is something dancers aspire to for many years. Two members of the Pendleton team shared what making the All-State Team means to them.
“I am ecstatic to have been honored by becoming a member of the 2021 All-State team, and to do so with four of the girls I grew up dancing with was an even bigger excitement,” Pendleton senior and team captain Lily Volger said. “Since the age of four, we have been pushing each other to be our very best. Being surrounded by such hard working teammates my whole life has pushed me to become the dancer I am today.” Volger also said her teammates could not have accomplished this without PHS Rhythmic Mode coach Debbie Kishpaugh.
PHS senior Kirsten Mendel said, “It has been an absolute dream of mine since I started dancing in Pendleton to be part of the All-State team. And to see it come true alongside some of my favorite people is the icing on the cake. Seeing my hardworking, passionate and talented teammates and I receive this award was an experience and honor I will never forget.” Mendel also said the support system Rhythmic Mode created for her and her teammates is outstanding and certainly contributed to their successes in and out of dance.
Coach Kishpaugh said going through the past year of incredible disappointments was grueling emotionally, physically and spiritually, and it was complicated for the dancers just to try out for the All-State team. “To learn that 50% of the team consisted of Rhythmic Mode dancers was thrilling! I have known these dancers since they were three and I could feel my heart swelled in size. I was told (unofficially) that Pendleton broke a state record for number of dancers to be placed on an All-State team, and I am beyond thrilled for every single one of them,” Kishpaugh said.