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Drill team practice pays off for Mountain Crest’s high-kicking Caprielles

October 2nd, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

By Rachel Kenley

HYRUM — If you ever find yourself wandering Mountain Crest High School after hours, you might hear the faint sound of music floating down the hall. If you followed that music, you’d be led to the mezzanine dance studio next to the gym. In the studio you’d find the drill team — the Caprielles.

On Friday the Caprielles, comprised of 28 tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade girls, lay on the floor and stretched their legs languidly to the beat of Here in My Arms. Each girl moved slowly, gracefully and purposefully, preparing her lean body for the grueling practice ahead.

As soon as the music ended, however, the team leapt to their feet with shouts of “practice, practice!” The room filled with energy as the girls ran to their positions for the military routine.

The change in the team members’ demeanor was instant — their military routine was as structured and synchronized as their warm-ups had been individual. The routine, which lasted approximately three minutes, included push-ups, a kick line, head stands and lifts. The girls were polished and precise, never letting their exhaustion show until the music stopped.

As the girls got drinks and prepared to go through the routine again, Co-coach Julie Howard called out critiques. “All those moves need to be sharper. You need to work on your posture and the kicks need to be higher for sure.”

While Howard gave direction from the front of the room, gesturing with a black-and-white striped cane, her twin sister and fellow coach Jamie Dattage gave the girls more individualized advice.

“We work together on everything,” Dattage said. “I’m more calm and she’s more assertive, so we complement each other well.”

The dancers certainly agree that in this case, two heads are better than one. Kylee Peterson, a 17-year-old junior, said “They are the best coaches you could ask for. I wouldn’t like drill so much if it weren’t for them.”

Dattage and Howard’s credentials also set them apart: they were both nominated for Best Drill Coach for the past two years in a row, a rare and prestigious honor.

Perhaps they are so successful because they are critical and demand dedication from the girls. The Caprielles have auditions in March and practice year-round. In the summer, the “Caps” attend a drill camp in Park City and during the school year they practice three hours each day. The team performs during halftime shows at basketball and football games and competes against other drill teams during the months of December, January and February.

Last year the team fared well competitively, placing first in their region and taking fourth place at state competition. Dattage said she hopes to repeat their success again this year.

The Caprielles will have their first competition of the year in December, and will compete in five categories: military, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and character. Maryn Wood, a 16-year-old junior, favors the character routine over the others. In this number, Maryn and half of her teammates dance and act like gentlemen. “It’s a lot of fun — we get to let loose and mess around,” she said.

Indeed, the character routine is quite the opposite from the military dance the girls began their practice with. The girls are all smiles, flowing movements and personality. The routine combines jitterbug style dance with hip hop, and involves chairs, feathers, hats, handkerchiefs and elaborate costumes.

The costumes for each routine change every year and can be quite expensive, Dattage said. The girls fundraise all the money needed by selling “Stang Discount Cards” and putting on mini-clinics for younger children. The drill team doesn’t receive funding from the school, and donations are always accepted.

At the end of the day, which comes at 5:30 for the Caprielles, the hard work pays off. “It is so worth it,” said Kylee.


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