Bruin Girls place at NDA High School Nationals


Junior Anna Kate Sundvold, sophomore Delaney Fuller and junior Brittany Hayes perform at half time on Sept. 22, 2018 at a game against Jefferson City High School. Photo by Maya Bell.

Ji-Sung Lee

[dropcap style=”flat” size=”4″]S[/dropcap]itting together and holding hands at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Nationals awards ceremony, the RBHS Bruin Girls both pray and hope that all their hard work for the past year has paid off. Sophomore Anya Kumar describes these moments as intense.
“All the teams at Nationals are really good and the competition can be really close,” Kumar said. “For example, our jazz was 0.7 points away from first. We had a really high score, 95 points out of 100, and we had the second highest score in the entire competition. As they call awards, all you can do is hope because you know you put everything you’ve got into your dance and that’s all you can do.”
The Bruin Girls have yet again proved themselves as being a national caliber team, taking home second in the small jazz division, third in the large mix division and fourth in pom at the NDA National competition, which was held from March 3 to 5. Last year, the Bruin Girls took second in jazz, sixth in pom and twelfth in hip hop.
As a third year returnee to the group, junior Kennedy Grieman brings both talent and experience to the team. Nonetheless, each year’s trip to Orlando, FL, where the competition is held, brings both new memories and emotions.
“Every year is a new experience and each year I enjoy it more and more as I try to soak up the last moments being on the team as senior year approaches,” Grieman said. “Each year the teams we compete against bring something new to the table and you never know what to expect. This might be the most thrilling part because it drives us to prepare our team as much as possible to be ready for whatever we are up against.”
For Grieman, she said the biggest takeaway is seeing all of the hard work her team has put into perfecting the routines throughout the year, so that they can come to life on the national stage. Being able to see the determination the Bruin Girls have to succeed is a great feeling, Grieman said.

“We incorporate fun traditions throughout the week before our performances like a pump-up circle and prayer before stepping on the stage to get excited about dancing in front the audience at such an important competition,” Grieman said. “Things like this remind us to enjoy ourselves and the time we get to spend with each other as we strengthen our friendships throughout the week.”
One of the best feelings in the world is running out onto the stage under the lights, and hearing the crown cheer for her team,” Grieman said. She feels incredibly lucky to experience that thrill again this year alongside her teammates.
[quote]“Being on the Nationals stage is unlike any local competition. The stakes are high, but our team prepares for months to ensure that we bring the level of intensity and determination with us to the competition,” Grieman said. “It can be intimidating at first competing with teams from across the nation who bring amazing routines, but we were more than ready to take the stage this week and show them what we’d been working on.”[/quote] Similar to Grieman, performing on such a highly prestigious stage creates a special atmosphere for Kumar, too. To her, it is the most amazing feeling in the world.  She describes it as an adrenaline rush that gives her so much energy.
“You just want to do your best and leave it all out on that stage,” Kumar said. “No regrets when you come off. Then you go out there and pour your heart and soul into whichever routine you are competing. We all fight really hard and we feed off of each other’s energy.”
This year, the Bruin Girls’ mantra was “you go, we go.” It signified that no matter what happens on the stage, all the teammates work together as a team, and fight as a team, Kumar said. Additionally, this season has been one of growth, encouragement and persistence.  Kumar credits her coaches, Lyria Bartlett, Lauren Rodriquez, Caroline Sundvold, Amy Schirmer and Stacey Buske for creating a positive atmosphere and being a supportive system throughout the season.
“Also, throughout the year, as a team, we put in a lot of time gaining new skills; most of the team has an aerial, a kip-up, and a head spring now,” Kumar said. “We all improved a lot this year. We also had a great work ethic as a team and we all had positive attitudes so we were able to accomplish a lot. We went into Nationals with more wins at Regionals and we even won our mix division at State.”

With notable wins for the Bruins, Grieman said going into the competition, she felt that the team was going to place high. Grieman credits the amazing choreographers that developed the routines into pieces that would leave a lasting impression on the audience.
“Our team set a goal not only to place high in the competition, but to enjoy the time we were given on stage with our teammates, as it was the last time we would perform with our seniors,” Grieman said. “We knew that this was an important factor in getting the most out of our trip to Orlando because we know that looking back on this experience many years from now, we will remember the time we had doing what we love with the people we love most.”
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