Last Friday I was utterly blown away by the performances of the Sunnyside High School dance team.
I have had other opportunities to travel to Yakima for the 3A State Dance and Drill Championships, but never before was I as impressed as I was last week.
What I saw amazed me because Sunnyside took their performances to places I hadn't seen other high school teams go.
The dance routine choreographed by senior Marielle Abbott amazed me at its intensity and sensitivity of movement. Watching the team perform it, I was in awe.
I walked away, saying that was worth being here.
I watched other teams perform several routines before the SHS dancers took the floor again. Some performances were alright, others left me wondering what was so special about the routine that the teams qualified for the State championships.
When Sunnyside walked on the floor for its hip-hop routine, Kelley Bridges belted out marching steps and I overheard a couple of comments regarding the authenticity in her voice.
The audience members I was near did not know that Miss Bridges is a Private First Class in the Army National Guard.
The music started and I wasn't certain what to expect. I had earlier watched a little bit of practice, but it paled in comparison to the raw emotion and moving dance routine I witnessed on the floor.
The performance I was watching reminded me of what I would see at a professional dance competition, not at a high school competition.
I watched through the lens of my camera and wanted to capture every movement, every nuance. I was seeing the emotion in the faces of the dancers and felt the passion and tears with them.
All I could say after the routine concluded was "Wow! I wish the rest of the community could see this!"
Sunnyside should be proud of these dancers, who have devoted hours upon hours perfecting and feeling the dance routines they performed at the 3A State Dance and Drill Championships.
Celebrate all they have accomplished and use these fine young people as an example of pride for Sunnyside.