Gresham High's dance team takes second in the Large Jazz division at the national competition

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - The Gresham Rhythmettes show off their second-place medals in the Large Jazz division at a national dance competition in Anaheim last month.

The Gresham Rhythmettes danced on the big stage and came away with a big prize last month at the United Spirit Association national dance competition in Anaheim, Calif.

The 32-member team performed two routines over the weekend, earning second place in the Large Jazz division.

"It was super exciting for us to put on those routines — our kids haven't been able to stop talking about it," Rhythmettes coach Jennifer Wilson said.

The team performed its award-winning routine to 'River' by Bishop Briggs.

"We like to be on the edgier side and that comes out in the beat of the song — it's sharp and edgy," Wilson said. "Our dancers gave 110 percent, and our choreographers were able to highlight everyone."

The Rhythmettes qualified for the Anaheim event after submitting a video of its routine. Competing on site proved to be an intense experience.

"They have two stages going, and it's a lot faster paced," Wilson said. "One team finishes, and the next is rotating onto the floor to perform in front of the judges."

Away from the convention center, the Rhythmettes enjoyed a team dinner at the famous Joe's Crab Shack and also spent a day-and-a-half visiting Disneyland.

"We had several kids who had never been there before, we had some who had never been on a plane, so being able to share in that experience was great," Wilson said. "Everyone was happy and excited."

Wilson has spent 17 years coaching the dance team, and she along with three of her assistant coaches are former Rhythmettes.

This story is slated for our Friday, April 5, print edition.

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