Good sportsmanship and grace-under-pressure are always admirably evident at most high-school events. It’s rare when bad sportsmanship rears its ugly head. But that’s what happened at Target Center Feb. 14 when five teams staged a protest against the Faribault Emeralds for winning the class AAA championship in the high-kick competition.
It was, in a word, embarrassing for everybody who witnessed it. It was also extremely hurtful for the Faribault dancers who justifiably won their award on a unanimous judges’ decision. Their performance was a spectacular knockout.
The teams who protested claimed the Emeralds “stole” their dance routine from that of a Utah High School dance team. Yes, there were similarities, to be sure. The Faribault coach even acknowledged the team had adapted some moves for their dance to the same song, Aliens. But a side-by-side viewing, online, of the Faribault team and the Utah team doing that dance clearly show many differences in the choreography. Anyone who has seen dance numbers in Broadway musicals, movies or in high-school team dancing understands there are many, many similarities in movements; it’s inevitable. It’s the same with songs. There are only so many notes in the music scale, and many songs sound similar – at times, indeed, almost identical.
The Minnesota State High School League received complaints about Faribault Emerald’s “copycat” dance routine. However, after a review of the dance and the MSHSL dance rules, officials determined the team was fully qualified to perform at the state meet at Target Center. They sent letters to all coaches informing them of that decision.
The Feb. 14 five-team protest is under scrutiny by the MSHSL, and well it should be. They should determine if the teams’ coaches instigated the protest, and they should also find out why those coaches did not command their dancers to take their expected positions on the gym floor, as the announcer had twice requested.
The five teams, because of their unsportsmanlike conduct, were disqualified, and two teams (second place and third place) were denied their awards.
If those teams took issue with the Emeralds’ dance routine, Feb. 14 at Target Center was not the time nor the place to show their disagreements. Their coaches, of course, should have absolutely forbidden such a show of protest.
Those teams’ behavior was disgraceful and embarrassing. It ought to be an abject lesson as to what all teams should avoid doing at any future events.
On a brighter note, we congratulate the Sartell Sabre Dance Team for its superb performances in both jazz and high-kick at Target Center, for which it took the state championship award in the Class AA competition. That team has shown its dancing brilliance five years in a row – with a high-kick championship in 2011, with three second-place high-kick wins in the next three years and now with another championship last week.
Way to go, Sabres!