Not only is pom highly competitive and an art form, but the training that goes into achieving that is extremely difficult.
“We either work on our pom competition routine, jazz routine, or on a half time depending if we have a home game or not,” says Sasha Lambrecht, a sophomore on the varsity pom team.
They have multiple dances to learn and there are several different styles that are implemented within each dance. Most people only see them perform their halftime routine at the football games, but they also have two other completely different dances that they perform.
For the varsity pom team, however, there are actually two contrasting commitments that a dancer can make. “There are different requirements for Varsity Pom depending if you would like to compete or if you would like to do games only,” Lambrecht explains.
“To make game day team, I believe you must have a triple, two eight-counts of seconds, and you must have advanced dance technique and the skill to pick up on choreography quickly,” Lambrecht said.
They also have their competition routine and their jazz routine and utilize different dances and skills in their various routines. “We incorporate some hip-hop into our halftime routines and into our pom routines,” Gianna Sciortino, a sophomore on the varsity team said.
Their jazz routine has turns, ariels, and an abundance of required technique. “To compete on Varsity Pom, some of the main skills you must have are 5 pirouettes, around the worlds, an ariel, leg hold turn, spin disk, and advanced dance technique and the ability to quickly pick up choreography,” says Lambrecht.
The reason these dancers are able to execute all of these steps is not only their current training but their backgrounds too. “We also all have to have a background of ballet technique to be able to execute pom technique,” Sciortino said.
Most of the current athletes on the pom team have been dancing and training for several years. Lambrecht said, “I have acquired these skills throughout my 12 years of dance training.”
Additionally, they also train outside of pom almost every day. “I dance for around 6 hours every day (2 of those hours for pom and the other 4 for dance),” said Lambrect.
“A lot of the girls are still training at their studios which helps keeps their technique up… we have been so busy with halftime routines and competition routines that I really rely on the girls to keep up with their technique outside of practice,” said Head Coach Brie Dragonetti. Unlike most other sports at NDP, the girls have to continue to go to training that takes place outside of school and the team.
Team practices typically take a lot of coordination and time management from the dancers and Coach Dragonetti. “There are times we have small conflicts with those who dance at their studio, but for the most part we do pretty well…I just have to make sure that if I want to have extra practices that I schedule them far enough out to make sure we can get everyone there,” Dragonetti said.
Overall, pom is clearly a strong commitment and the dancers and coach put all their effort into every routine they do. Their training is a huge responsibility and they all take it very seriously. For many of these dancers, pom is helping them increase their skills while also preparing them for the next step.
“I want to major in dance in college because I want to have a dance career. After I am a working dancer, I would like to become a choreographer and a director,” Lambrect said.
In the end, pom is not only a sport, but it also creates a family of kind-hearted people through hard work and dedication. “Balancing pom, dance, and schoolwork is not easy, but it has helped me become a more efficient student and person,” said Lambrecht.