Weisner Wraps Up with Win

Cassi Reaka, Editor-in-Chief

Senior dance team captain Mackenzie Weisner became the 2021 Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA) soloist state champion on March 13. Weisner won with her submitted video to the virtual state competition. 

According to Weisner, 33 dancers qualified to compete their solos in the state competition. After a preliminary round with two brackets on Friday, March 12, the top five performances from each moved on to the Saturday finals. 

Although Weisner knew she had the highest score after the first round, it was not clear that she would win because there were different judges for each bracket.

“I thought there’s no way. They have to be tricking us,” Weisner said. “So, I was really nervous going into Saturday.”

IDTA State was conducted virtually this year through video submissions. 

“I could re-record and send however many videos I needed to, but I couldn’t perform at a competition and had to wear a mask, which made [dancing] ten times harder than it should be,” Weisner said. “It was a little disappointing because I couldn’t get the same experience I would [pre-COVID-19.]”

Weisner and her mom were sitting in her living room watching a live stream of the results when she won.

“My mom just goes, ‘got it.’ I was honestly just trying to record it, so it was very exciting…at the same time I was just focused on if the filming was correct,” Weisner said. “It was a weird experience because it was virtual. It’s not like you’re sitting there with all of your friends around. It’s me in a chair in front of the TV.”

Her teammate, freshman Emma Schrimpf was excited for Weinser’s win. 

“I wasn’t surprised by the win because she is such a great dancer technically and emotionally,” Schrimpf said.

EHS alumni Emily Roberson choreographed the solo for Weisner. Roberson won the state title herself in 2015 and had danced with Kenzie since she started competing.

“I really enjoyed having Emily do it because I’ve known [her] for forever. I have danced with her since the beginning,” Weisner said. “It was good because she knew my strengths and weaknesses, and we could both make a dance that would fit me better.”

Weisner does not plan to join the dance team in college, but she will continue dancing through a club. She plans to attend University of Arizona in the fall.

“Just so that I’m not dancing again so much,” Weisner said. “I need to focus on my major.”

Weisner has been on the varsity dance team since her freshman year but has been dancing her whole life.

“I always knew I wanted to join the dance team,” Weisner said. “I had friends when I was 8 who were on the dance team who told me this is what you’re going to do, and I didn’t really know what that meant.”

She started dancing when she was 2 at a studio in Bethalto called Fitness and Fun. At the most intense part of her studio career, Weisner danced 30 hours a week. 

“There were moments when I felt burnt out,” Weisner said. “But I knew that I probably wouldn’t be dancing in college, so I wanted to continue on as best I could before the end, which sadly, is so soon.”

After cheering in middle school, Weisner knew that she wanted to be a part of a school team in high school.

“I love it,” Weisner said. “It’s time consuming, yes, but I’ve met so many amazing people.”