MINNEAPOLIS – The Lakeville Area School District is the first district to respond after one of its state high school dance teams was among five Minnesota dance teams disqualified from the state dance tournament this weekend for protesting the winning team’s routine.
The dividing line among six dance teams began at Target Center Saturday night, when the Faribault Emeralds dance team won the state Class 3A High Kick dance championship. During the awards ceremony, when judges unanimously voted Faribault into first place, all six teams were supposed to line up in a row and receive their awards.
Faribault got into position while the other five teams, from Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Chaska, Eastview and Lakeville South – did not. Instead, they gathered together on the side of the court, held hands, and refused to line up. The five protesting teams were then disqualified.
In a statement, Lakeville Area School District spokesperson Sarah Oslund says “the district leadership takes issues like these very seriously. We are conducting an investigation into the situation and, based on the results of that investigation, will determine the appropriate course of action to ensure that the integrity of the team, high school, and district is upheld. “
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said ToddSesker, superintendent of Faribault Public Schools. “I have never seen an act like this, in 30 years, I was a coach, a teacher, activities director and superintendent.”
Before the finals at Target Center, the Minnesota State High School League investigated claims that the Faribault dance team plagiarized part of its routine. According to MSHSLspokesperson John Milea, Faribault was accused of stealing their routine from a winning dance team in Utah. MSHSL investigated the claims, looked at video of the two teams, and determined Faribault did nothing to break the rules. It then sent a letter notifying all dance teams that the Faribault team was cleared of any wrongdoing.
“…current MSHSL Dance Team rules were not violated,” the letter said. “This team will be allowed to compete in the tournament this weekend.”
Faribault Dance Coach Lois Krinke admits to copying the Utah team’s concept but using their own moves for the routine.
“If any amount of time was similar, it was four seconds here and there and never consecutively,” said Krinke. “We had performed this dance in competition three times prior to, and nobody said a thing. We get to sections and we win, and then all this happened. So you draw the conclusion,” she said.
According to Krinke, the teams shouted, “United we stand. We are one.”
KARE 11 has attempted to contact all of the teams involved in the protest, but emails and phone calls to four other districts and dance teams – Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Chaska and Eastview – have not been returned.
“If you have complaints about something, there is a time and place for everything but that certainly wasn’t the time and place,” said Krinke. “I had a senior sobbing through all her makeup, put her arms around me and saying why are they doing this to us? That was heartbreaking, but that wasn’t the worst of it. They all congregated right outside our dressing area and continued to scream and scream and scream.”
The MSHSL said it is not pleased with the lack of sportsmanship.
“The State High School League is very disappointed and looking into how to move forward,” said John Millea, media specialist for MSHSL.
The MSHSL expanded in a more detailed statement on its Facebook page.
“On February 9 MSHSL staff was made aware of a possible rule violation during the Section High Kick competition. That allegation was investigated by the school and by MSHSL staff. After a review of the report from the school and a review of video and other information, there was complete consensus on the part of League staff and the Dance Team Rule Coordinators that a violation had not occurred.This ruling was made on February 11. On February 12 this ruling was sent via email to all coaches competing in the High Kick Division at the state tournament.
The MSHSL will further investigate what took place during the Class AAA awards ceremony. League staff and the Board of Directors will determine a course of action after that investigation is complete.