The ADSS cheer team practices a routine at Totem media day on Thursday, Dec. 12. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

TOTEM 65: ADSS cheer, dance teams getting ready for Totem basketball tourney

65th annual Totem Tournament runs Jan. 9-11

The Alberni District Secondary School dance and cheerleading teams are getting ready to provide some high-energy entertainment at the upcoming 65th annual Totem Tournament in Port Alberni.

Although Totem is a high school basketball tournament, it’s something that the whole school gets involved in. The ADSS dance team performs a routine at halftime for the evening feature games, while the cheerleading team gets the crowd revved up throughout the games and provides special performances at halftimes and at each quarter. The teams also lead the crowd in the “famed” Totem line dance at the end of feature games.

READ: TOTEM 65: Basketball tournament to celebrate its 65th year

The dance team will take the stage on Thursday at halftime, performing a competitive routine that dancers have been working on since September. Made up of competitive dancers from both Elite Dance Academy and Stage West School of Performing Arts, the ADSS dance team has more than 20 members. Alyssa McGifford and Alexa Tremblay, both in Grade 12, have been dancing in Totem since they were in Grade 9.

“We’re trying to get as involved as we can for our final year,” explained Tremblay.

This is why both McGifford and Tremblay are running in the Totem Spirit contest, as well.

“In reality, we’re [competing] against each other, but we’re definitely working together,” McGifford laughed.

The cheer team will also be taking the stage on Thursday. The team has had a good start to the year, said head coach Lizabeth Bill. They competed in the PINK Cheerleading Championships in Richmond at the beginning of December and came in first place in their category.

Their choreography during the Totem tournament will be made up of a mix of routines they’ve been practicing since September, as well as a few new ones.

“Three girls on the team are involved in Totem Spirit, so we’ll be supporting them, as well,” added Bill.

The three girls in question—Maggie Cyr, Melisa Engstrom and Amrit Hundal—have mixed feelings about performing in their final Totem Tournament.

“We’re excited, but sad because it’s the last year,” said Engstrom.

“We’re putting all of our efforts into this one to make it the best one yet,” added Hundal.


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