The Varsity Team in their new warm ups
We had a hunch there was something special about Watertown, Wisconsin. Especially when last spring Watertown Blue Revue ordered over 140 warm up jackets for youth dancers, parents, coaches and the Varsity Dance Team! We couldn’t help but wonder what is behind that much team spirit? So when Watertown High School won the Wisconsin Division 1 High Kick Championship this year, we knew it had to be a huge accomplishment for the team and their community.
Even the youngest dancers support the team! Photos by Watertown Blue Revue
How it all Began
The success of the team began years ago (in 1994 to be exact) when Tracy Pearson founded the non-profit organization, Watertown Blue Revue (WBR). The mission of the organization is to provide a quality dance experience for youth. Today the program includes approximately 120 members across the six competition teams. To support the growth of the program, it has evolved into a family commitment. Sue Putra and her daughters, Linnea Nagel and Jana Strobel, now direct the program together. What is unique about the coaching staff is that all of the coaches have been WBR alumni exclusively, since its inception!
More than a Dance Team
Beyond the dance team experience, the program also encourages community involvement through traditions like The Watertown 4th of July Parade and Relay for Life. As their website states, “the community is important, and the development of good citizenship is to be encouraged and supported in our young men and ladies.”
Photo by Watertown Blue Revue
Success at State!
We have a feeling many of the Varsity Team Members once benefited from the Watertown Blue Revue youth program. With all that support and history, no wonder the 2015/2016 season ended successfully at the Wisconsin State Championship! Linnea, coach of the Varsity Team, lead the team to a Division 1 1st Place Title in Kick and 3rd Place Title in Hip Hop. For each of their routines, she carefully planned the music, choreography and costume around very specific themes. Here are some highlights:
Theme: Tribal, Music was Baba Yetu, which is the Lord’s pray in Swahili
Details worth noting: Coah Linnea wanted the custom high kick costume to be “tribal themed but also have an element of elegance.” To pull this off, the team learned some African dance moves to incorporate into their choreography. A custom graphic print was also created to fit the theme, and was dye sublimated into the trim at the neckline, bodice and waist. To save costs, the team took the ‘do it yourself’ approach of applying rhinestones.
Details worth noting: It’s not often we see hip hop unitards, but we love the edge on this ensemble, created by adding a hood! The team incorporated the classic Spiderman “Spider web” by dye sublimating the graphic pattern at the bodice, legs, and inside the hood.
Theme: Snake Charmer
Details worth noting: Makeup definitely that made this look come to life! A spangle and rhinestone design brought in the jewel details into the custom pom costume, and the use of colorful poms pulled everything together!
Q and A with Coach Linnea
Favorite memory from the season: Winning State
Biggest Challenge: Our motto this year was one team, one family, and one chance. We started our season in May so I think our biggest challenge was staying true to and focused on our state goal for the 9 long months that led up to state.
What makes your team/group unique: Our team is unique in that we have a blend of girls that have been dancing in our program for over decade with girls that have never dance a day in their life before. It creates an excellent environment that fosters teamwork, as there is a mutual respect between the girls. The newbies have great respect for the veteran dancers ability and willingness to teach, and the veterans have great respect for the newbies dedication to learning and bravery to try something completely out of their comfort zone. I believe this unique dynamic has helped us to become closer.