Crawfordsville High School Dance Team members have been sporting new jackets recently with the logo, “International Champion.” And the Crawfordsville Middle School Dance team has a shiny new trophy in the school’s display case with the engraving, “State Champs.”
But for Tami Haas, CHS Blue Illusions Dance Coach for the past 17 years, the continued success of her program means much more than earning impressive titles and trophies.
“It’s not all about winning,” Haas said. “Teamwork, respect, diligence, responsibility. These are things you use forever.”
The Blue Illusions recently competed in the Ameridance International Competition at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, capturing titles in Jazz and Hip-hop while garnering a second-place finish in the Kick competition. All of this while competing against squads from Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada and from all over the United States. This year marked the fifth time that the Blue Illusions have performed in the international competition, but it isn’t the first time they’ve earned the title, “International Champion.”
But at Orlando this year, the Blue Illusions added another chapter to their success story by capturing the Spirit Award which is based on a team’s enthusiastic crowd support and the support a team gives to other squads at the competition. Besides the team trophies, Blue Illusion dancers received medals, and the program was awarded $3,000 worth of costumes to be worn at next year’s performances and competitions.
What’s more, to top off an already outstanding showing by the Blue Illusions, Haas was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award which is given to one dance coach and one cheer coach at the Disney World competition.
“The award is not about me,” Haas was quick to point out, continuing her theme that CHS Dance represents much more than winning. “It’s about the kids and all of the things they’ve been able to achieve in their lives that they never could have done without dance.”
Several former CHS dancers have gone on to perform on college dance teams as well as becoming Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders. Others have had opportunities opened for them because of their involvement in CHS dance.
At the IHSDTA State Finals in New Castle a few weeks ago, the Blue Illusions and the Crawfordsville Middle School Starlettes competed against 150 dance teams from all over the state.
The Starlettes, coached by Haas’ mother, Reda Hubbard, and Haas’s sister, Heidi Gambrel, captured a state championship in Jazz and finished second in Hip-hop. The CHS Blue Illusions finished second in both categories by the slimmest of margins. But the most distinguished and largest trophy presented at the state finals, the Sportsmanship Award, voted upon by opposing coaches and teams, went to the Blue Illusions.
“It was sad that we didn’t win especially as close as it was, but the Sportsmanship Award means more,” Haas said. “It shows that our kids have character. As a coach and a staff, it’s what we value in our students’ behavior. Our girls always say ‘good luck’ to opposing teams, and we always look for teams that don’t have as many in the crowd cheering for them and become their cheer block.”
The trophy cases at Crawfordsville High School and Crawfordsville Middle School display the accomplishments of the Crawfordsville Dance teams, past and present. But for Haas and her staff, those trophies have a far more important meaning.
“The glitter from winning eventually goes away,” she said. “But the moral principles never do.”