MINNEAPOLIS — A year indeed has made a big difference for the Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd Shadows dance team.

Ten seniors with state championships to defend have a way of changing the competitive picture.

“Last year, we only had one senior,” LQPV/D-B head coach Lisa Johnson said. “The difference is our 10 seniors this year.

“(A return to state) has always been in the back of their minds.”

Class A jazz competition begins at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Target Center. Twelve teams compete. The top six advance to the finals, which begin at 5:30 p.m.

Class A high kick competition starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The top six advance to the finals, which start at 5:30 p.m.

LQPV/D-B makes its 14th state appearance in Johnson’s 18 seasons as head coach.

The Shadows are considered one of the favorites. One of the strongest teams capable of dethroning them is Yellow Medicine East, which finished runner-up to LQPV/D-B in sectional competition. YME is coached by Chris Nerdahl, Johnson’s sister.

“They’re always strong,” Johnson said of the Silhouettes.

Minnewaska and BOLD compete in Friday’s jazz division. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City competes in Saturday’s high kick competition with LQPV/D-B, YME and BOLD.

LQPV/D-B, YME, BOLD and Minnewaska all compete in Section 3A, which annually is considered one of the strongest in the state Class A.

This year was no different, Johnson said. It meant the Shadows had to be at their best to win section championships in jazz and high kick.

Johnson said that besides YME, Frazee will be a serious state title contender in both disciplines. It won both high kick and jazz state two years ago. Cannon Falls high kick and Zumbrota-Mazeppa jazz also figure to be strong contenders, she said.

As for the Shadows, they’ve completely re-done their jazz performance. There are 11 dancers, including four seniors. They compete to a Dixie Chicks song: ‘Not Ready to Make Nice.’ It’s more moody and artistic compared to last year, Johnson said.

“We’ve got a pretty tricky turn set,” Johnson said.

For high kick, LQPV/D-B is likely to have the largest number of dancers on the floor with 30. They dance to a high-energy tune by Pink, ‘I Am Here.’

The squad also features eight juniors and two sophomores. Everyone else is either in eighth or ninth grade. Most compete in the off-season with Valley Dance in Appleton. They hope all the hard work pays off Friday.

State Class A dance team

(At Target Center, Minneapolis)

Jazz teams Friday (in order):

  1. Duluth Marshall (2nd in Section 4A)

  2. Frazee (1st in 4A)

  3. Houston (3rd in 1A)

  4. Minnewaska (4th in 3A)

  5. BOLD (3rd in 3A)

  6. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (3rd in 4A)

  7. Zumbrota-Mazeppa (1st in 1A)

  8. PACT Charter (2nd in 2A)

  9. Yellow Medicine East (2nd in 3A)

  10. St. Charles (2nd in 3A)

  11. Holy Family Catholic (1st in 2A)

  12. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (1st in 3A)

High kick teams Saturday (in order)

  1. Frazee (1st in 4A)

  2. Pierz (2nd in 4A)

  3. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (2nd in 2A)

  4. LQPV/D-B (1st in 3A)

  5. St. Charles (1st in 1A)

  6. YME (2nd in 3A)

  7. BOLD (3rd in 3A)

  8. Wabasha-Kellogg (2nd in 1A)

  9. Cannon Falls (1st in 2A)

  10. Crosby-Ironton (3rd in 4A)

  11. Holy Family Catholic (3rd in 2A)

  12. Lake City (3rd in 1A)