Canby Dance Team’s Long-Awaited Title Defense Gets Off on Right Foot

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The Canby Cougar dance team’s long-awaited state title defense — first derailed days before it was set to begin in March 2020 in the onset of the coronavirus pandemic — is off to an impressive start. (Shocker, I know.)

The Cougar squad has dominated the Oregon high school competitive dance scene for the better part of a decade, winning five straight state titles before Covid-19 postponed their quest for No. 6, and has proved so far this season that that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Canby brought back a beloved annual tradition this year, hosting the annual Winter Festival of Dance on February 5. Photo by Tyler Francke.

The Cougs returned to a beloved tradition earlier this month by hosting its annual Winter Festival of Dance. Though they followed the host tradition of not participating in the competition, the Cougs did present an exhibition of their 2022 show routine, “Listen.”

Two weeks later, on February 19, the team officially kicked off its title defense with an appearance at the first state season competition at Parkrose High School. In the field of nine teams, Canby emerged in a familiar place: first, earning the highest score of any team in the competition.

“It was so amazing to see the show teams back together in such a large group,” Canby head dance coach Jenn Chaffee said in an email. “The routines they are putting together are amazing and so creative.”

Photo courtesy Jenn Chaffee.

Sprague High School took second at Parkrose, followed by Clackamas. Chaffee said Canby’s competition also did not pick up much rust during the nearly two-year hiatus, and the show division looks to be very tough and fiercely competitive.

“Sprague is newer to the Show Division (I think this is their third year) and they have flown straight to the top,” Chaffee said. “They are very creative, and their dancers are amazing performers. Clackamas, as always, had a beautifully designed show routine and talented dancers.”

A trio of Canby dancers placed in the top 10 of the Novice Drill Down Competition: Gracelyn Chaffee, Patricia Campbell and Zoie Fulks.

Gracelyn Chaffee, Patricia Campbell and Zoie Fulks placed in the top 10 of the Novice Drill Down Competition for Canby. Photo courtesy Jenn Chaffee.

Canby will be back in action for another competition on March 5 at David Douglas High School, followed by a friends and family night at Canby High at 7 p.m. March 16. The event is free and open to the public — and will offer a few surprises, according to coach Chaffee.

The OSAA State Dance and Drill Championships will be held March 18 at Oregon City High School.

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