Dreams and determination mixed with early mornings, Saturday sacrifices and late evening repetition has paid off for the Tumwater High School dance team, who won a National Championship in the “Small Varsity Kick” category at the Dance Team Union’s 2024 National Championship in Orlando, Florida that took place February 9-11, 2024. For Tumwater Dance, it was their first National Championship building on years of tradition and a recent State Championship in 2023 in the Dance and Pom categories.

Head coach Kim Griffin (called Hille at the competition) was thrilled. “Personally, winning a national championship was a goal I have been working towards for 22 years,” stated Griffin. “We have chosen to go to nationals every other year due to the expenses, missed school days and additional stress. So, it took Tumwater 11 attempts to win a championship but the wait was well worth it. It was such a wonderful performance. The girls left the floor feeling like they did all they could do.”

Tumwater competed at the 2022 DTU competition

  • · 8th Place JV Hip hop DTU National Championship 2022
  • · 6th Place JV Pom DTU National Championship 2022
  • · 15th Place Small Varsity Pom DTU National Championship 2022
  • · 4th Place Small Kick DTU National Championship 2022

but they learned some valuable lessons that paid off at the 2024 competition. “We focused on conditioning, technique and flexibility,” Griffin remarked.

Moving into the final round for the “Kick” competition, Tumwater was fighting with two other teams with close scores. Tumwater entered the finals in second. A key for Tumwater’s final performance was adjusting to some critique from the judges after previous rounds and some last-minute pointers from the team choreographer.

Dance teams from Capital High School and Timberline High School also competed at the competition. Capital placed 8th in the “Small Senior Spirit Showdown” and 17th at the “Small Varsity Pom” competition. Tumwater also placed 17th in the “Small Varsity Jazz” category and 9th in “Medium Varsity Hip Hop.”

Tumwater brought a total of 21 dancers to the competition with 14 competing in “Kick,” 11 in the “Hip hop” category, 7 in “Jazz,” and a JV team with 9 competing in “JV Pom” and “Hip Hop” and 13 at “JV Jazz.”

Tumwater JV Coach Cassidy Moyes thought the entire event was a very rewarding experience. “The dancers were inspired by other teams, and each other, and had an amazing time bonding,” Moyes recalled. “They were able to come together and they are all looking forward to our next nationals trip.”

You can view footage of Tumwater’s Final Kick Performance and the “the wining moment” on the team’s YouTube channel.

Tumwater plans to return to the DTU competition in 2026. Coach Griffin remarked that “the team has a renewed confidence in their own abilities and our current sophomores and freshmen will be leading the charge next time and we look to them to keep our momentum going.”

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