Three days before their national qualifying performance, the Broken Arrow Tigettes gathered as a team to watch dance videos. First, they reviewed their routine. Then, they studied videos of pom squads from Oklahoma and neighboring states.
“They looked at me and said ‘we’re not good enough,’” Tigette coach Meag Warren recalled.
Warren offered the first response.
“If you really want to do this, we’re going to stay here all day, redo the choreography, clean it and work on it.”
The second response belonged to the girls.
“I’ve never seen a team take ownership of their routine like this before,” Warren said. “They watched their routine and redid the entire dance. They put some really hard stuff in there. Not one kid said ‘I don’t want to try it’ or ‘this is not going to work.’ I was so amazed. They 100 percent earned all their awards.”
After multiple days of eight hour practices – five to six hours more than usual – the Tigettes not only qualified for nationals but also left the Universal Dance Association qualifying camp with more awards than any other team. They were one of only three teams to earn a Full Out Award for choreography, memory, facials and overall performance. Six girls – Sierra Cherry, Aspen Dixon, Sabrina Domrique, Natalie Flowers, Iman Knox and Alexa Martin – earned All-American status.
“Being as exhausted as they were, they motivated each other so well,” Warren said after the four-day camp at Tulsa’s Renaissance Hotel. This camp is the only national qualifying camp in the region, hosting teams from Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The 2016-17 version of the Tigettes has many of the same faces that led the team to a national semifinals appearance in pom last February. Eight seniors return to this year’s team. There are several new girls on this squad, however. Warren credits her upperclassmen for blending the returnees and newcomers into a cohesive dance unit in less than two months.
“We have tryouts at the beginning of April, so that is not a lot of time to do choreography, music, put the routine together and clean it before qualifying,” Warren said. “My seniors are such good leaders. They know exactly what I like and how I coach. They know what I expect.”
Last spring, Warren included a dance master class on her list of expectations. This class will focus on teaching the girls classical and traditional dance disciplines. She also added a third routine for February’s national competition in Orlando, Fla.
“They are not a studio trained team,” Warren said. “To go in and keep up with academy trained kids who have been taking dance since they were three years old, they’ve done a really good job.
“Our practices are really intense. On top of four practices a week, the girls do technique, acrobatics and strength training. I’m proud of them.”
The girls begin Tigette “Boot Camp” in July. Warren calls this a “crash course in all things Tigettes. It’s really intense.”