The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers punched their Super Bowl tickets on Sunday. The Eden Prairie High School Pom Squad qualified for its Super Bowl, UDA National Dance Team Championships, at a qualifying camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, late last summer.
The UDA Nationals are held in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 30-Feb. 2. And yes, finals are set for Super Bowl Sunday.
Eden Prairie will compete in the Small Varsity Pom and Small Varsity Jazz divisions.
“Eleven dancers is the limit,” said Eden Prairie coach Krista Kronlakken. “That’s a change from last year, when you could compete with 12.”
Eden Prairie’s team numbers 14 dancers.
Kronlakken guesses that more than 100 dance teams compete in the small varsity categories.
“There are four preliminary pools,” she said. “Semifinals is the first cut, finals the second. At finals, you might see 20 teams.”
Eden Prairie’s Pom and Jazz routines were created by professional choreographers.
“We’re loving our routines,” said Kronlakken.
The coach described this year’s Pom routine as unique.
“It’s different than what we’ve done in the past,” she said. “There are more transitions and it’s more visual.”
Its Jazz routine is stylistically different than last year’s.
“Not only is it a different style, but there’s more difficulty,” she said.
Eden Prairie started to learn its routines in October.
They’ve performed these routines a number of times, including the Best of the Best Show at the University of Minnesota, but competed only once, Spirit of America competition at the Mall of America.
“You compete for the score sheet,” said Kronlakken. “You can see what the judges are looking at and you can see where you could improve.”
Eden Prairie will perform both Nationals' routines at a send-off event scheduled for 7 p.m. this Saturday at Eden Prairie High School. Friends and family are invited and the event is free.
The Eden Prairie Pom Squad leaves for Florida on Wednesday. They’ll compete on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, hopefully.
Eden Prairie is ready.
“We never talk about winning,” said Kronlakken, “and we never talk about finals. We’ll compete with the goal of being better today then we were the day before."
Kronlakken took this a step further.
“It’s more about bettering yourself than being better than someone else,” she said.