Peninsula Dance Named Grand Champions
 dance.100• Panthers dance all day to collect another batch for first-place trophies and tournament recognition.

Peninsula High’s COED Choreo and Varsity Dance brought home another batch of victories from competition on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Saugus High School.
This event took place with the West Elite Dance Co. (WCE) at the school in Santa Clarita. After the grueling 12-hour day of competing in front of a panel of judges against 18 other teams, the results were impressive and showed the amount of hard work these teams put into their sets.
COED Choreo varsity ended with a first place in All-Female, All-Male and Small CO-ED, as well as a second place in Large CO-ED.
COED Choreo junior varsity concluded with a third place in Large CO-ED and All-Male. Last but not least, Varsity Dance culminated a third place in Small Jazz, Medium Jazz and Large Lyrical, a fourth place in Small and Large Contemporary, as well as a fifth place in Medium Lyrical.
Peninsula also won first place as Grand Champions, which came with a $1,000 check from WCE for their exceptional performances.
Because of Santa Clarita’s dry, desert climate, dancers at Saugus had physical difficulty throughout the competition. Many dancers on Varsity Dance and COED Choreo had trouble breathing during their performance and were unable to showcase their craft to the fullest.
There was also an issue with the traction between the dancer and the gym floor, which caused many dancers to slip on the floor during their performance, creating discrepancies within the pace of every set.
dance.250“At Saugus this year, there were a lot of health problems because a lot of the [members] were getting sick, and since the air quality was very poor [in Santa Clarita] we couldn’t give our most optimal performance,” COED Choreo Varsity coach Leo Matsuyama said. “However, everyone worked together very well and we were able to feel a sense of unity within the team.”
Competition day was jam-packed with competitors running to and from the locker room to cheer for teammates, squeezing in time to warm up and practice the sets, and changing in and out of costumes.
Finally, after hours of running around, Varsity Dance and COED Choreo sat in a circle on the gym floor to hear the judges. Squeezing each other’s hands throughout the awards ceremony, the teams jumped and hollered after hearing their names being placed on first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place in more than 10 categories.
“I have been trying to [improve my coaching] since 2016, the year I started,” Matsuyama said. “Teamwork, dance ability, endurance. We’ve all been working from the ground up to perfect our skills.”
Despite the difficulties at this competition, with the air and the gym floor, Varsity Dance and COED Choreo were able to persevere and perform to the best of their ability. The teams hope to continue working towards a top rank at Nationals coming up in a few weeks while enjoying what is left of competition season.

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