The stadium lights, the murmur of the crowd, the feel of artificial turf underfoot – all are commonplace on Friday nights for Wichita Northwest High School’s dance and cheer teams.
All that will hopefully have prepared them for their next gig, Head Dance Coach Meagan Meyer said: a performance during halftime of the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30.
This is the first time in recent years the school has sent a team to a bowl game, and Kara Hehemann said she is glad to be going her senior year.
“I’m just anxious to know what it’s going to be like,” Hehemann said. “There are going to be so many other dancers there.”
This year’s Alamo Bowl, played in San Antonio’s Alamodome, is a matchup between Texas and Oregon.
The 10 dancers and 15 cheerleaders from Northwest going to San Antonio will participate in a group dance with other squads. They already have learned the routine, which was created by a nationally renowned choreographer, Meyer said.
At the game, the Northwest girls will be in step with other dance teams from across the country, through a program called WorldStrides Heritage. The program offers cheer and dance teams, bands and other similar programs the opportunity to perform at big-ticket events like the Orange Bowl, Indianapolis 500 and the Boston Music Festival.
Members of the Northwest dance and cheer teams have been putting on children’s dance clinics, selling candles, candy bars, entertainment books and cards to raise money for the cost of the trip, which was roughly $750 per girl.
Meyer is in her second year as coach of the dance team. Northwest Athletic Director Lance Deckinger said she and Head Cheer Coach Tiffany Houle have elevated their programs.
“We always know they’re going to put great performances on the field,” Deckinger said. “ … They continue to raise expectations for their kids and for the program.”
Though the Alamo Bowl’s halftime performance will probably not be televised, Deckinger said he will have cameras at the game so Northwest can post a video of the performance on its website.
“We get to leave the state and do something so big with tons of people watching,” Hehemann said. “I’m really excited to be doing this with my team. We work really hard.”