Kara Nicolaides has danced for 15 years, nearly since she could walk.
The senior at Jordan High School has been on the school’s drill team since her sophomore year, and she recently was chosen for the State Drill Team by the Utah Dance and Drill Association. She was the only Jordan High student to be chosen for the state team in recent memory.
“I was so excited and proud of myself for achieving one of my goal of being chosen to be on the All State Drill Team this year,” Kara said.
The coach of the Charlonians, Tiffany Smith, admitted that she was not surprised.
“I’m a really proud coach,” Smith said. “She is much deserving of the award. And I’m glad that she’s able to represent our team.”
Kara competed for statewide titles with the Jordan team at the State Championships held Feb. 1 and 2 at the Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center. Although the team didn’t place, Smith described Jordan High School’s improvement. In 2012, the team placed in the dance portion of the state competition. In the past three years that she has been their coach, Smith has witnessed the Charlonians’ progress in terms of both the quality of their routines and in the competitions themselves.
Unlike football or soccer, drill is a year-round sport.
“You don’t see the football team getting up at 5 a.m. to train,” Smith said. “By the time school has started, these girls have already practiced for three hours.”
But, for the Jordan team, drill isn’t just about gold, silver and bronze; it is equal parts heart and competition. Smith emphasized that all of drillers are “very sweet, loving, and caring young women, who are genuinely excited for other teams, as well as for themselves.”
The team’s head captain, senior Sadie Langston, said the team’s attitude is what impresses her.
“One thing that really sets Jordan apart from other teams, is not only the passion that we have for our sport, but the overall joy we have for life itself. Working with these girls every day has truly been such an honor and blessing in my life,” Sadie said.
As seniors, both Kara and Sadie are currently deciding if and how to continue dancing after graduation. Sadie is still debating whether she wants to continue, while Kara hopes to juggle a full dance schedule in addition to her academics. She anticipates being a part of her college drill team, while taking and teaching dance classes.
“I just want to continue doing what makes me happy,” Kara said. “And that is dance.”