SunDancers and Warrior Pride Dazzle Audiences at Austin Classic Competition

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  • SunDancer officer Shiying Su ’22 dances in the center of her teammates in their team contemporary dance. This performance was one of many that contributed to the SunDancers winning two awards for their technique and choreography.

  • The SunDancer officers lift Greta Mock ’22 in their lyrical routine. On top of the five general SunDancer performances, the officers performed four additional routines, and Mock performed an additional solo for a total of ten by the end of the day.

  • All of Warrior Pride performs their contemporary dance together in the late afternoon. They later performed the same hip-hop routine that they first danced at the Mr. Warrior pageant.

  • Three hours after the Warrior Pride call time at noon, Sophie Steinhauser ’22 dances in their contemporary routine. At the award ceremony at the end of a long day, Warrior Pride was announced as the first place winners for their contemporary routine.

  • SunDancer officer Greta Mock ’22 performs her solo routine on a smaller stage for the judges in the auxiliary gym. The rest of the SunDancers sat in the stands to show their support for their teammates who signed up to dance solos.

  • In her contemporary solo performance, SunDancer Morgan Muscato ’24 dances directly in front of the judging table. Solo performances were the only way for SunDancers to compete for placements because all of their team events were just showcases.

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Back in 2020, the Westwood Dance Department partnered with MA Dance to host the first Austin Classic. This year, they hosted the event for the second time on Saturday, Feb. 12. Surrounding high schools in the area came together to compete in the various categories including team, officer, and solo events such as modern, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, ensemble, and open. While the SunDancers only showcased their performances and did not compete for placements, they still received the Outstanding Dance Choreography and Outstanding Dance Technique awards. Warrior Pride won first place for both their contemporary dance and their hip-hop combination, garnering a Sweepstakes award.

The competition was an all-day event, with the SunDancers opening at 9:20 a.m. and the awards ceremony occurring at 6:45 p.m. The visiting teams scheduled warm-up times in the Warrior Studio, and SunDancer parents and newbies hosted concessions throughout the day. Group performances were held in the Field House, and solo performances were held in the Auxiliary Gym. 

All performers had the opportunity to display their skills in front of the judges, other competitors, and the completely packed bleachers. Warrior Pride member Angela Yue ‘24 said that the team had been practicing both their contemporary and hip-hop routines for several months.

“It was so inspiring to watch our varsity team and everyone was very supportive and cheerful,” Yue said. “That was why I felt like we, as a team, were able to work together and do a great job. We’ve spent so much time going over the dance, cleaning, and it’s such a beautiful piece. We’re so happy that we had the opportunity to perform.”

Three of the SunDancers performed solo contemporary routines, including Sophia Baruah ‘23, Morgan Muscato ‘24, and Greta Mock ‘22, which they prepared for on their own on top of the many routines they had to learn for the team dances. 

“I think I performed really well,” Muscato said. “I would practice every Sunday [in preparation] and it was just such a fun experience. My favorite part [of the day] was just being with all of the SunDancer team and all the support they gave me and all the support I gave them.”

During the pandemic, there was no possible way for the competition to happen, and the Austin Classic was forced to make its return two years after it was established.

“It’s a really great experience, especially because a lot of us haven’t been to contests so far because of COVID restrictions,” SunDancer Becca Hendricks ‘24 said. “There’s definitely been a lot of team bonding. You grow so close when all of you are working towards that common goal. Even though we are not competing because the team dances are just exhibitions, it is still so much fun, and you still get that same rush that you get [from] competing.” 

The SunDancers will be competing again soon at Vista Ridge on Sunday, Feb. 26.