The Shining Event of WDAAM’s Spirit Day
March 14, 2023
On March 4, multiple Southern California Drill and All-Male teams arrived at West High on large yellow buses to compete in the highly anticipated Spirit Day. The teams prepared to show off their talents in the gymnasium in front of well-known judges and a roaring crowd. West hosted this massive event once a year.This undoubtedly brought some struggles and hardships that West’s Drill and All-Male (WDAAM) team had to overcome in order to create the best event possible.
Being a part of WDAAM means that competing is not a rare occurrence. All events are hosted by a school and their respective team. West held up the mantle during their Spirit Day event, which took a heavy amount of determination and planning. Coach Eriksen stated that the process of preparing for the event started in January. Most of the teams performing began practicing their choreography early in the school year. Since West was in charge of the small details, the team was “broken into groups to help with things like decorations and posters, organizing and labeling score sheets, audio commentary for each team, and creating locker room assignments.” The team was also on a strict schedule, with time shifts to ensure that the event was progressing smoothly.
Drill Team Co-Captain Julia Araujo (12) described what responsibilities were needed from leaders: “We [were] each assigned a school liaison and [were] in charge of all posters, locker room assignments, scoresheets, and advertisements for the whole competition.” She stated that the captains had the responsibility of overseeing all of the groups and completing their given tasks.
Around the gymnasium were encouragement posters made by WDAAM. They were intended to ease the nerves of the contestants who were performing in front of the judges. Gracie Ito (11), Drill Team member, was one of many members in charge of making posters. In her opinion, competing in events is more fun than hosting them due to the different feelings and level of responsibilities. However, she “still enjoyed being a host and being a part of other school’s competition seasons.” Ito stated that Spirit Day reminded her of how welcoming the dance community is. She highlighted that Drill competitions have given her the ability to meet new people who share the same interests as her. “It brings so many people together that are passionate about dancing.”
Not only did the event allow other schools to show off their skills, it also specifically raised money for WDAAM. West’s Play Production received money, as well, for being in charge of the snack bar.
Some differences about Spirit Day compared to the other competitions is the influx of hip-hop groups and the freestyle competition ending the night. Coach Eriksen described how the freestyle competition allows dancers to “pay a dollar and come out to the middle of the floor and freestyle to whichever song the DJ plays for them.” The event raises money for WDAAM by profiting off of each individual dancer. After three rounds of dancing, the performers are narrowed down until there is a winner. The top five winners are awarded prizes for their efforts and skill. “It is a fun way to end such a crazy and long day.” Coach Eriksen hopes to “foster a community between the dancers so that they have people that can support them through the grueling comp season.”