Before 13 St. Charles North High School girls dressed in black and red sequins stepped out onto the Batavia High School gym floor Sunday, they were pumping each other up for their performance. And as they kicked and jumped and spun to the Rolling Stones song, "Paint It Black," they were building off each other's energy.
"It felt really powerful," said Monique Purdue, 18, one of three seniors on the school's varsity dance team.
St. Charles North was one of about 40 teams competing at the Team Dance Illinois tournament at Batavia High School. Almost 80 performances filled the day as teams from across the region competed for tournament trophies and placement in the state competition next month in Peoria.
Nancy Dappas, mom of 17-year-old Geneva High School junior Aimee Dappas, stopped into the tournament before work, glad to have a close-to-home opportunity to watch her daughter perform. Aimee has been taking dance classes since first grade, and while Dappas hasn't been able to make every single competition, she is always amazed by the talent at each one and the diversity of performances.
"You'd think you'd see the same moves all the time or the same songs but they're always different," Dappas said. "I'm so amazed they can do it, because I'm not a dancer."
Junior varsity and varsity teams competed in Open Pom, Pom, Kick, Open Dance, Hip Hop and Lyrical categories in different divisions based on their school size. Relatives and fans of the dancers wandered the Batavia High School gym throughout the day, coming and going for the performances in which they knew dancers.
Batavia's varsity team co-captain Marissa Bode, 17, said she felt her team's Pom number was as good Sunday, and maybe even better, than the performance they gave in Orlando last weekend for the Universal Dance Association Nationals. That performance placed them in the top 10 nationwide.
"We've done really well this season gelling as a team on and off the floor," Bode said.
The Batavia tournament is a big one for Team Dance Illinois competitors. Next weekend another competition at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire will be the last one before the state championship March 3.