The Dripping Springs High School High-Steppers team has been facing some challenging times while adjusting to the new normal of COVID. The group has been meeting through zoom throughout August. They even held tryouts through video submissions.
“It was virtual (the tryouts), so they had to dance on video; for instance, we had to completely clear one of our living rooms, take all the furniture out, and then video her dancing,” Teri Robinson said about her daughter Riley who is a Hi-Stepper. Teri is also on the Hi-Stepper Booster Board. “We had a pretty big living room, but it was just big enough for her to perform.”
“I think we did the video six times. It was tough.”
After a few months of zoom meetings, the high-steppers could meet in person starting early September. Masks were required at all times, and in-person practice was not mandatory. However, because of these new safety requirements, the performing experience changed drastically.
“They used to sit up in the stands with each other, but they changed that mainly because they had to open that area for parents, so now they are sitting in the end zone, and their chairs are pretty spread apart.”
The way the Hi-Steppers used to interact with each other was forced to change, which impacted the girls greatly because it made it harder for them to connect on both an emotional and physical level. It’s important as a dance team so that their performances can flow.
“I think that the biggest thing we are missing out on is just being physically close with our team.” Junior high-stepper, Riley Robinson said. “There are times, like 6:30 AM practice, etc. where we all just need a big group hug. And other things like away games, where we lost the opportunity to travel and support the Tigers, which really changed the season.”
A big struggle that the high-stepper group experienced when the season started was funding. Part of the performance for the high-steppers are the costumes, which can be quite costly. On top of costumes they participate in competitions after football season, which also cost a good amount of money. However, the pandemic made fundraising difficult. They could do a little fundraising here and there with things like tiger cards and some leftover money from last year’s season.
Fortunately, they were able to buy the necessities. “We have tried to do some moral boosting because we know it is a tough year especially for the senior girls.” Terri Robinson said. “We have organized this sign up where we try to bring them something special from one of the parents to boost them up and let them know we are supporting them.”
During a time like support is important to keep the team motivated. The financial and emotional support for the high-steppers is one reason that the team could continue forward with the 2020-2021 season.
“Mrs. Neef and Mrs. Manning, along with the Booster parents, have done everything in their power to make this year extra special; they really bring up our spirits when times get tough. I also think just looking towards that light at the end of the tunnel, when this all does subside, and imagining how amazing it’s going to be,” Riley said.
Even with the struggles of COVID-19 and the uphill battles, the hi-steppers continue to push forward because of their passion for dance and performance. The Hi-Steppers play an important role in supporting the football team on and off the field, and they bring light during a dark time.
“I love performing, it never gets old, but the reality of it [is, it’s] all is different. We have to abide by certain rules such as masks, social distancing, etc. I think the biggest obstacle we have had to overcome is how to show off our performance with a mask on.”
This article was first published in the Dripping Springs Century news. Very minor edits were made by the writer.
By Evelyn Peterson, Co Editor-in-Chief