Dancers dominate

Jones dance team qualifies for state after special performances and competitions


SUCCESS: Jones Dance Team after placing fourth at Sectionals and qualifying for State. (Photo Credit: jcpdanceteam Instagram)

Over a span of 12 days from Jan. 9-21, Jones’ dance team performed at a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) men’s basketball game and placed third at the city competition.

The UIC game allowed the team to perform in a new environment. 

“There’s just so much energy. While we were performing, the UIC cheerleaders and dancers were right in front of us, and it was a really cool experience,” said dancer Emily Guijosa ‘26. 

The game also allowed the dancers to let loose and have fun before their city championship. 

“At the UIC game, we could just focus on having fun and not [being] judged. I think that helped us to do really [well],” said dancer Deandra Cook ‘26. 

To prepare for the city championship, the team trained really hard after school and before competitions. 

“It was very nerve-racking because obviously, we wanted to do very well. That weekend, we practiced a lot and really gave it our all,” said Cook. “Our full focus was on practice all week.”

The city championship allowed the team to watch other Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teams for the first time.

“We really don’t see many CPS schools during our competitive season because we [compete] with Illinois High School Association (IHSA). It’s always good to see other schools and what they’re doing,” said assistant coach Carrie Bibbs. 

After a third-place win at city, the team changed their routine a bit before heading into sectionals. 

“We added some aerials and changed the ending. There were a lot of changes and I’m very proud we could keep up with them and that we executed them correctly,” said Guijosa. 

The team’s fourth-place finish at sectionals allowed the team to qualify for the state competition, which rewarded their hard work. 

“We were all jumping up and down. Practices are hard and all the work you put in is hard, but it’s all worth it once you see the results and the opportunities you have,” said Guijosa.

The state competition is split into two rounds: the qualifier and the final.

“We are going to state, so we have to qualify for the finals. I feel like we’ll be alright,” said Cook. 

The team is ready for state, and the dancers are looking forward to experiencing an opportunity that previous Jones dancers have participated in.

“A lot of us are very excited, especially because it’s our first year on the team. The state stage and what the veterans have told us is a completely different experience [from what we’re doing now],” said Guijosa. 

However, the practice and work will continue as the team prepares for state.

“We’re still practicing for three hours daily,” said Bibbs. 

In addition to the dancing, the team is looking forward to some quality time together. 

“There’s a lot of team bonding that we’re also gonna have. So I’m very excited about that,” said Guijosa.