MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Faribault Emerald dance team took home the first place trophy in the Class AAA State High-Kick Dance Championship, but not without controversy. Many of their competitors claim they copied a dance and didn’t deserve the win.
Over the weekend, six teams competed in the high-kick state competition at Target Center. On Saturday night, five of the dance teams — Wayzata, Eastview, Chaska, Lakeville South and Eden Prairie — ignored instruction to line up for the awards ceremony.
Instead, they held hands and stood away from Faribault’s team as a protest to their first-place finish.
In doing so, Wayzata and Eastview were not awarded their second and third place trophies. This comes after allegations that Faribault copied a dance from the Azurettes, a dance team in Utah.
“They copied costuming, music, the theme and choreography, so it’s more than just they stole a few movements here and there,” Azurettes head coach Shannon Mortensen said.
Lois Krinke has been the Faribault Emeralds head dance coach for 24 years. She said the team did take inspiration from the other team’s dance, but didn’t copy it.
“It was like four counts here, four counts there,” Krinke said. “But our routine was 3 minutes, 24 seconds.”
Faribault High School Athletic Director Ken Hubert said the Minnesota State High School League doesn’t have a rule on how much of a dance teams are allowed to borrow from. He said the only rule in place is that teams can’t bring in outside choreographers and that they obeyed that rule.
“You don’t disparage these kids,” Hubert said. “What they did was fantastic and was within the rules and they should not feel bad at all.”
Mortensen told WCCO she received an anonymous email from a dancer in Minnesota asking for the music from their dance routine. She said she told them they could not use it.
The MSHSL sent out a letter to participants before the tournament informing them that an investigation concluded Faribault had not plagiarized the Azurettes’ dance routine.