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Peachtree Ridge High School Dance Team wins 2023 GHSA Dance Championship

March 1, 2023

     The Peachtree Ridge High School Dance Team was named the 2023 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Dance State Champions. OnPeachtree Ridge Dance Team and artistic director, Courtney Chitwood Ondre February 11, the team competed against 33 dance teams from across the state. Peachtree Ridge earned a total score of 97.93 and garnered the title of state champion. The Mill Creek High School Dance Team was declared the 2023 GHSA Dance State Champion runner up.

     For the past five years, the Peachtree Ridge Dance team has participated in the Georgia State Dance competition, and this year’s achievement proves that determination and perseverance pay off.  At the start of the season, the coach, 19 varsity members, and 17 junior varsity members had a vision and a plan. They began with multiple rehearsals per week, starting at 6 a.m. in their school gym. “I think one of the hardest things as a coach is to keep the kids motivated when you come so close to winning at prior competitions, but you are not coming in first,” says Courtney Chitwood Ondre, Peachtree Ridge’s Artistic Director. “We lost one competition by 0.8 points, and we came in 3rd place. For several of the competitions, the scores were so close, we knew that going into state something had to change.”

     Just two and half weeks before the state championship, the team met and discussed their options for competition preparations: they could stay complacent, not change the dance, keep rehearsing, and hope for the best, or take a huge risk and revamp the entire routine within a two-week time frame. “As a team, we discussed the pros and cons. We were already losing to other teams for first place, so we could try something new and go for it or just stay complacent, knowing our chances of winning were slim,” says Ms. Ondre.  “A lot of coaches probably thought we were crazy, but I felt that staying on the course we were on was not going to give us a shot at winning state and most of our team was composed of seniors, so we— as a team — took the risk,” she adds. "The kids worked so hard all season and really brought a different energy at the end of the season. I could not be more proud of them! They took the risk, and it paid off.”