State Dance Championships Make Changes Due to COVID-19

National News

DES MOINES, Iowa — In less than 12 hours the Iowa State Dance and Drill Team (ISDTA) Championships found themselves having change their competition once again. Gov. Kim Reynolds proclamation announced at 6 p.m. on Monday night stated that only two spectators per athlete/performer was allowed. On Tuesday morning, as the ISDTA Championships were underway with new protocols in place.

“It was last minute and some people were already in Des Moines to watch who couldn’t come,” ISDTA Executive Director Andrea Dana said. “The dance family has really prospered through all of this, in my opinion. Coming together, being flexible and adapting to change, whether it was change that we knew about for months or within hours of go time.”

Teams had to change travel plans last minute because it is now required to have teams leave the event center immediately after performing to keep numbers inside Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall down.

There are 250 high school and 17 college dance and drill teams performing throughout the week for the competition. Many of the changes to the annual championships were changed months in advance after creating a COVID-19 task force in May.

“One of the big steps we did as a dance team is in choreography there are restrictions. All of the routines dancers are six feet apart with no intentional touching and no sharing of equipment which is a huge change. Teams have gotten to be very creative,” Dana said.

With over 12 hundred routines being performed, between team and solo performances, they are spreading out between Hy-Vee Hall and Wells Fargo Arena. ISDTA also changed the typical times they perform as well.

“The performance day schedule here is based on distance from Des Moines so schools can make it a one day trip. So the schools closest to Des Moines are performing in the mornings and evenings. Then sandwiched in-between those are the teams who are 2-3 hours away,” Dana said.

Even how they are being judged has changed too. There are no live judges this week. Every routine is being recorded will be judged virtually. This way they are judged the same way as schools who submitted their routines via video.

“I have a production crew here doing all of the recording,” Dana said. “The schools who are at 100 percent virtual learning can’t participate in person. So they knew back in September that they could started recording their performances in the event that they couldn’t come. So that has been a saving grace for a lot of teams.”

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