Marshfield Upbeats to compete at state.

The dance team, which also contributes to school enthusiasm, is currently at the OSAA state dance competition in Portland, the culminating event of their season.


By Brittany Cook | Reporter

They are the backbone of the pep assemblies. The crowd feeds off their energy and follows their seemingly endless leaps and turns. The Marshfield Upbeats dedicate their talents to the entertainment of their fellow classmates as well as the self-satisfaction of competing against other dance teams.

Sophomore Cheyenne Anderson is an enthusiastic audience member when it comes to watching the Upbeats perform.

“I go to every single home game there is just to watch them because they are fantastic,” Anderson said.

In the hours after school, one can find the team tirelessly rehearsing their dances and polishing their competition routines. The music is set on repeat and Coach Debbie Brown is bellowing out a constant stream of counts and directions. Brown believes having a space to practice is vital to the success of the Upbeats.

“It’s just more difficult to practice on your own, without a facility,” Brown said.

Senior Kelsey Scott has been part of the Upbeats since her freshman year and has gotten used to the constant chase of perfection.

“A good dancer needs to be able to take criticism well,” Scott said.

Along with criticism, being part of an award winning team takes time, dedication and hard work. Brown spends countless hours with the girls at practice.

“For all-team [all members of the team] we have one and a half to two hour practices every day,” Brown said. “For the varsity team, for competition, we just add a second practice all through the winter.”

Freshman Kaylee Krajcir is a new addition to the team but has been dancing since she was three, and took part in a Pacific School of Dance recital. After taking a break she came back her seventh grade year and has been dancing ever since. Krajcir enjoys that the dance team is more structured and has a more rigid set of standards than her previous dance experiences.

“There’s a lot more rules and guidelines you need to go by,” Krajcir said. “Overall they’re just a lot more serious about what to do.”

Being a part of the Upbeats also comes with the chance to be a part of the All-State team. This opportunity is open to senior members of the team and requires them to display a wide range of skills, as well as learn and perform an audition dance. The girls who chose to pursue this option must diligently rehearse and show their ability in order to make the multiple cuts involved. Senior Brittney Loper made the commitment to try out for the All-State team.

“It’s definitely stressful,” Loper said. “There’s a lot of pressure to get it down.”

This year, Scott and Loper both auditioned for All-State team and survived the first 5A cut which dropped the number of dancers to 25 or 30. This small group included some of the best dancers in the state.

“Kelsey and Brittney both were in that cut so I was really proud of them,” Brown said.

Although the team works hard, they still find time to bond. The team has many traditions they practice annually. The state competition team often makes special bracelets they wear until they dance. The captains make tie-dye shirts all the members wear on certain days.

“We’re always doing something. There’s never, like, a dull moment,” Scott said.

Doing little things to bring them closer allows the team to rely on each other when the nerves and stress of competition become overwhelming. As well as having others to help them stay calm, each girl has her own personal way of preparing to dance.

“I try to think positive and go through the dance as well as I can,” Krajcir said.

The girls have recently placed first at two competitions and have the highest 5A state score. Their performance at Sheldon High school qualified them to compete at the state competition but did not meet the length requirements. Their second competition took place at South Albany and secured their place at the state meet, which will take place March 13-14.

Though the girls are not financially sponsored through the school, they are still an award winning team that contributes to Marshfield’s bountiful list of titles. Because of this, Anderson believes the Upbeats are just as much a sport as anything else at Marshfield.

“They put a lot of hard work into it,” Anderson said. “Just like any other sport.”

This year the team plans on capturing the elusive first place trophy that slipped out of their grasp last year. With their hard work and perseverance, the girls believe they can accomplish this task. For the Upbeats, dance is often more than a sport. It is a way of life.

“I love it,” Loper said. “I don’t know where I would be without it.”