Apollonaires finish out another impressive season


Photo by Photo courtesy of Cami Mollhoff

The Lincoln East Apollonaires pose for a picture after their winningest competition this year. They were the Grand Champions at the Heartland Championships, taking first place in every performance.

The Lincoln East Apollonaires dance team has had another incredibly successful year. Alongside halftime shows and pep rallies, they attended UDA Camp, Regionals in Minneapolis, the Heartland Championships, UDA Nationals, and the State Championships. The team came home with hardware at every event they visited. Giving 110% at each practice paved the way for the 2022-2023 year, exceeding expectations one competition at a time.

UDA Camp is always an exciting start to the season, as they gather with many different dance teams from around the area to exhibit their skills. The Naires took home many blue Superior ribbons, a Superior trophy, and the Super Spirit Stick, all awards honoring their passion for dance and school spirit.

“Besides nationals, camp is always one of my favorite memories,” junior Julia Radu said. “It gives us a chance to really create bonds with the new team, which is where a lot of our success comes from.”

At the Heartland Championships in Lincoln, the Naires finished with a boosted resume. They were crowned 1st place for all three routines that they performed. The trophies in pom, jazz, and game day made them the Class A Champion, along with being the Grand Champion of the entire competition. On top of that, the judges granted them the Best Storytelling Award.

Coming off that high, the Naires still had plenty of work to do before UDA Nationals, where dance teams from all over the country come to perform. Nationals are what makes all of their dedication worth it. This year, the team earned 8th in Medium Jazz, 12th in Large Varsity Game Day, and made it to the semi-finals in Pom. Placing at a national competition only happens to anywhere from 12-15 teams in each division, and the Naires have been able to consider themselves nationally ranked multiple years in a row.

“[Nationals] is an inspiring experience,” Radu said. “One of our goals for next year is to place in the top 5.”

The last hurrah for the team was the Nebraska State Championships in Grand Island. Even though it may seem to be less competitive as a national championship, the dancers in Nebraska make up a majority of the teams that attend Nationals. Each team knows what is needed to win, and they always put their best foot forward. Still, the Apollonaires had a runner-up finish in Class A Jazz, and a 7th place medal in Class A Pom.

Their season is close to year-round, with only a small break between tryouts in March and practice in the summer. The team aspect is just as important as the dancing, with team bonding and little sister/big sister gatherings throughout the year. Tryouts took place just this last week, and a new team for the 2023-2024 school year has been named. Lincoln East can expect another exciting year of dance from these girls.