Competitive Dance

Pantherettes Competitive Dance Team

With fifteen consecutive trips to the State Tournament and three AA State Jazz Championships, the program is both full of rich history, prestige, and always in pursuit of excellence. But equally as important, the team strives to be the utmost example of teamwork, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm to develop athletes into young women of character. Every season, the dancers walk away with cherished memories from performances, practices and competitions but also with a sense of pride and accomplishment. 


Panther Dance Team doing a high kick
Dance team holding celebrating their high kick champion win
Panther Dance team performing a Jazz routine

Coaches and Captains Segment by North Metro TV 207

Dance Team FAQs

What is the difference between Fall and Winter Season?

When dancers audition at spring tryouts they audition in front of both Fall and Winter coaches. At the beginning of tryout workshops, the dancers will fill out a form that indicates whether they would like to audition for fall or winter season, or both. 95% of our dancers stay with us for the entire year as an integral part of our program. Fall season is both an opportunity to showcase school spirit while performing at football games as well as a preparation to winter season. Drills and skill enhancement are focused on preparing dancers for the intensity and competitive level of winter season. Winter season is spent competing as a Minnesota State High School League sport.


Fall performance season is nine weeks and begins in mid August and finishes in October. In general, the dance team supports athletic activities through performances and pep fests during this non-competitive season. Fall season also serves as a preparation for the winter competitive season to get the athletes in technical and physical shape for the following season. Practices occur Monday through Thursday after school. There will be Friday night games as well as extended practices around homecoming as needed. 


During the winter season the team competes regularly and competitions start soon after the beginning of the season. The team focuses on competition within the Northwest Suburban Conference and attends many Invitational Meets, similar to any SLPHS sport. The dance team competes in section 3AAA as part of the post-season competition, which will determine advancement to the State Tournament, held annually at the Target Center.

The season stretches from October to February. The team typically practices five to six times per week, in 2-2 ½  hour blocks.  Extra practices may be required throughout the season.  All practices are mandatory. A dancer and parent handbook will be distributed to the selected team and will outline all team policies. 

The decision to become a dance team member is a decision to make a 100% commitment.  Your family shares in this commitment providing transportation and support throughout the season.  There are also some expenses involved in participation on the dance team. We do not wish to discourage individuals from trying out due to financial reasons.  The girls are given opportunities to fundraise to help buffer the individual expenses.  Dancers will also be expected to participate in team fundraisers throughout the season.  We ask both the dancer and her parents to carefully consider what is involved in being on the dance team. 

What should I wear for auditions?

You may wear any type of dance or athletic apparel, just as long as you can move freely and can show all of your lines during auditions. During the season, dancers typically wear t-shirts or athletic tank tops with booty shorts or track shorts.  Also bring both jazz shoes as well as tennis shoes. If you are new to dance, any type of shoe that you can turn in can be worn, no need to purchase new jazz shoes. You must be wearing shoes at all times during practice. Don’t forget a water bottle

What are some skills I need to know how to do?

There are no “proficiency”-type skills that you need to know to make the team. While we will do isolated skills as well as skills in the routines that we learn, above all, the coaches are looking for athletes eager to learn, receptive to feedback, enthusiastic about their effort, and giving it their all. Skills that will be auditioned are high kicks, pirouettes, chaines, straight leaps, side leaps, calypsos, splits, and toe touches/Russians. If you are unsure of what any of these skills are, attend our pre-tryout clinic to learn what they are and how to do them.

How many dancers make the team?

There is no set number of dancers that make the team. In fact, at the 2014 spring auditions, we nearly doubled the size of the entire team from 22 to 40. At the 2015 spring auditions, we went from 40 dancers to 68. Fortunately, each year we have had a large handful of rookies that came out ready to learn and accomplish goals, so we have had a huge group make the team. We encourage anyone to tryout, whether they have previous dance experience or not. We acknowledge that we can teach the dance skills but heart, passion, and determination often come naturally. Thus, we will take anyone who is ready to work and learn.

How and when will I find out results?

Dancers will receive a number during the winter season audition on Monday, October 23rd. Once auditions conclude on Thursday, October 26th, a list of the dancers who make the team will be posted to the Dance Team webpage on the Spring Lake Park District website. Chosen dancers will make one high kick team and one jazz team.

Dance Team Rules/Expectations

Dance Team Responsibility

A Panther Dance Team Member’s ultimate responsibility is to compete to her highest level of potential and promote school spirit by demonstrating a positive attitude at sporting events. To promote this, the following polices and guidelines shall be in effect.

The Core Covenant of the 2018 - 2019 Spring Lake Park Pantherettes Winter Dance Team

Purpose of Dance Team Members

S – Syncopated (mind and body united)

T – Tough (grit when things get hard)

O – Optimistic (positivity all around)

R – Rare (unlike anything else, unique)

M – Motivated (working towards a goal with passion and fire)

Mission of the Pantherettes

Our mission as coaches, parents, and members of the Pantherettes is to create a positive and supportive team atmosphere. We will encourage our dancers to become great athletes, students, and young women.  We will make decisions based on the best interest of the team.  We will show mutual respect and have open communication among all dancers, parents and coaches.  Coaches will complete the administrative aspects of the Pantherettes in a timely manner. Our primary focus will be on dancing and developing a program that will promote the Pantherettes’ successful reputation.

Competitive TeamsĀ 

  1. Dancers will audition in October at the start of Winter Season. Dancers selected will be placed on the Winter Dance Team. Dancers can be placed on the following teams: Varsity Kick, JV Kick, Varsity Jazz, JV Jazz, or B-Squad Jazz.
  2. All competition teams will compete within Conference Meets and Saturday Invites.
  3. Dancers may be removed from routines, with advanced notice. Dancers may be removed for reasons including: missing practices, or difficulty with learning at a faster pace.


  1. Pantherettes are representatives of Spring Lake Park High School. Dance team members must abide by all policies and bylaws of Spring Lake Park School District and the MSHSL.
  2. A dance team member will represent her school with dignity and pride. Dance team members will exhibit good conduct and set a good example at all times.  Ex: on Facebook, Twitter, in the stands at games, in the community etc.
  3. Pantherettes may not act independently in making a decision involving or relating to practices, fund-raising, participation in events, or any activity as “official” team members without the consent of the head coach.
  4. Any dancer displaying a negative attitude so as to affect the attitude and performance of other team members will be talked to by the coaching staff and disciplinary action will follow if deemed necessary.
  5. Pantherettes should cooperate with supervising adults; should conduct themselves with dignity; be respectful to coaches, captains, other dancers, judges, etc. and refrain from using profanity or vulgarity at all times.
  6. Mood altering drugs are prohibited. Once named as a member of the team, whether in season or not, a student shall not have in her possession, buy, sell, consume, or distribute any controlled substance including tobacco, alcoholic beverage, or any other controlled substance.
  7. All district and MSHSL penalties shall be enforced and shall include the following consequences:

First Violation: After confirmation of the violation, the dancer shall lose eligibility for the next two (2) consecutive performances or two (2) weeks of a season in which the dancer is a participant, whichever is greater.

Second Violation: After confirmation of the second violation, the dancer shall lose eligibility for the next six (6) consecutive performances or the next six (6) weeks of a season in which the dancer is a participant, whichever is greater, as well as any titles the dancer may hold.

Third Violation: After confirmation of the third violation, the dancer will no longer be part of the Pantherettes Dance Team. 

Practice/Performance Attendance

  1. Unexcused absences are not allowed during the season. Parents will be notified each time an unexcused absence occurs.  Unexcused absences include social events, concerts, driver’s license testing, hair appointments and others at the coaches’ discretion.  It is considered an unexcused absence if you do not contact a coach by phone prior to your absence. 
  2. Excused absences include personal illness, a death in the family, required classroom activities, or religious holidays. We ask that such absences are avoided when possible and will only be considered excused when a parent has notified a coach in advance.
  3. If unexcused or excused absences occur within one week of a performance; the coaches reserve the right to hold a dancer out of that competition or performance.
  4. The Pantherette organization will excuse studio class attendance at the coaches’ discretion. As a coaching staff, we acknowledge that studio dance training will enhance our competitive abilities as a team. We would like to encourage our dancers to continue their training outside of practice! Dancers must take all steps necessary to NOT miss dance team practice for studio; however, if dance team practice and studio dance class conflict dancers must abide by the following:
  5. Dance team practice will take precedence over studio class the week of any competition. If a dancer misses dance team practice during the week prior to a competition, the coaches reserve the right to have the dancer not compete that week.
  6. Dancers missing dance team practice for studio MUST know all missed material before returning to practice the following day. Failure to do so will result in being sat from competitions. This includes knowing formations as well as choreography!
  7. Coaches must have your studio schedule in written format prior to the first day of practice. 
  8. If at any time during the season the coaches feel this is becoming detrimental to the team as a whole, we will reserve the right to revert to our original policy at any time, meaning studio dance would not be considered an excused absence.
  9. If an injury is sustained prior to or during the winter season, the coach must be informed immediately by the dancer and /or parent. If a dancer has a severe injury that prevents them from fully practicing for one or more weeks they will need to provide a doctors’ note in order to return to full activity. Dancers in this situation will be benched until a doctor’s note clears them to return. Partial activity (only allowing certain activity during practice) consent by the doctor will be accepted by the coaching staff; however, the athlete will remain benched until FULL activity is allowed.
  10. A dancer must be in school for the FULL school day to be eligible to perform or practice that day.
  11. To participate in a competition, the dancer must be maintaining 90% attendance prior to the competition, which includes both excused and unexcused absences. If the dancer does not have 90% attendance, the dancer will not be eligible to participate in the competition. 


  1. The Pantherettes follow all district policies for academic achievement for student athletes. District policy states that all student athletes must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.75, if a student does not have this minimum requirement, they will not be eligible to try out for the team.  To be eligible for active participation a student must earn a 2.0 term grade point average.  A student who has failed to meet the 2.0 term grade point average will be placed on academic probation.
  2. In addition, all dancers must be earning a passing grade for all courses while also maintaining a 2.0 term GPA.
  3. If a student is placed on academic probation they are still allowed to rehearse and compete/perform during probation. Probation will continue for a three week grading period, upon at which time, the athlete on probation must have raised their GPA to the minimum requirement of 2.0 term GPA and / or a passing grade for all classes.  If the athlete does not raise their GPA to the 2.0 or higher or maintain a passing grade during this time frame the athlete will then be restricted to practice only, no competitions or performances until the 2.0 GPA minimum is reached and/or a grade of passing is received for all courses.
  4. Any student who falls lower than 1.5 GPA or "D" for any class during grade checks will receive an academic game plan from the coaches to ensure the dancer stays on track and does not fall into failing status. The plan could include: frequent grade checks, moving of team levels, and / or modified practice schedules.
  5. Two suspensions of any kind for any reason during one competitive season will result in termination for the remainder of the year from the team.
  6. Any dancer benched for more than 1 weeks time during the competitive season must return to full activity and demonstrate to the coaching staff not only knowledge of the dance routines but also have the physical ability to perform the routines before she will be placed back into formation.


  1. Uniform items which are owned by the school may not be worn for anything other than official appearances or performances. Uniform items may not be loaned to anyone not on the team.
  2. Dancers must wear the appropriate specified uniform for all team appearances and performances. Failure to do so may result in suspension from the event. 
  3. At the end of the performance season every member is required to turn in all team issued items to the coaching staff.


  1. All Pantherettes must ride to and from any away events on the bus provided.
  2. It is School Boards policy to allow a student to ride with their parent/guardian as long as the coach and/or athletic department has been properly notified. We prefer for the parent/guardian to provide a written note or email the 72 hours in advance, to our athletic/activities office, stating their intent to drive their child(ren) home. If a parent/guardian chooses to take their child home following an event they will be asked to write down their intent. The coaches and athletic office need written proof in the event that something should occur.


Members of the Winter Dance Team can receive a school letter, as that season is considered a team sport. Lettering criteria are as follows: JV members are not eligible to letter.  All Varsity lettering is subject to the coach’s discretion at all times.  We determine lettering based on the following factors: grades, effort, attitude, attendance, at least half the seasons' competitions competed, and overall contribution to the improvement of the team as a whole. 


Activities which are intended to cause physical or emotional harm, humiliate, intimidate, or embarrass individuals will not be allowed.  Any new team member who permits herself to be initiated by veteran Pantherettes in such a way, or anyone that is asked to participate must report the names of anyone involved to the coaches.  Anyone participating in unauthorized activities shall be disciplined by school administration and the coaches. Team and/or school suspension may result.

Meghan Pederson dancing