MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There may be more fallout from this weekend’s State High-Kick Dance Competition.

Five dance teams protested Faribault’s first-place finish at the Class AAA State Championships last weekend at Target Center. The athletes and their coaches refused to line up during the awards ceremony, instead standing apart from the Emeralds dance team.

It was a response to allegations that Faribault copied an out-of-state dance routine. Last week, the Minnesota State High School League investigated the allegations and determined that Faribault didn’t copy a dance and could use the routine during competition.

“It’s very split opinions as to how you feel about it,” Erin Kruesi, dance team coach and founder of mnhsdanceteam.com, said.

Kruesi was at the tournament when the five teams from Wayzata, Eastview, Chaska, Lakeville South and Eden Prairie protested Faribault’s first-place finish.

“I think the most disappointing thing was they chose to do so at the expense of someone else,” Kruesi said.

A coach herself, Kruesi sees the reaction as going against the values of a normally supportive dance community.

“Certainly unprecedented in behavior of dance teams,” Kruesi said.

Also unprecedented was where the dancers and coaches decided to take a stand. Good sportsmanship is emphasized during the state tournaments.

“Unfortunately to many of the fans and many in this movement, they feel this was a showing of sportsmanship,” Kruesi said.

“This isn’t what we teach our kids about sportsmanship and competition.  It’s a ridiculous spectacle is what it was,” John Millea of the Minnesota State High School League said during an interview with WCCO Radio. “What they did was totally wrong. That’s not sportsmanship. That’s not fair to the girls on those five teams. This is all orchestrated in advance by the coaches of those five teams before the awards ceremony. They knew what they were going to do. I heard from an administrator at a school not involved in this told me today ‘If my dance coach did that, I’d have an opening for a new dance coach tomorrow.'”

But blame isn’t necessarily being placed on students.

“This is all orchestrated in advance by the coaches of those five teams before the awards ceremony,” Millea said.

The discussion is far from over in a dance routine that’s now become a debate of ethics and sportsmanship.

“I think something should be done because if we were to pretend like this didn’t happen and move ahead and say don’t do that again, I think we would be sending the wrong message to both sides,” Kruesi said.

In email statements four of the five schools said they will investigate the issue but so far no one is saying if there will be any type of discipline to those involved The MSHSL said it will take up this issue in the coming days.

The league’s spokesman went on to say the coaches of the other teams were not happy that Faribault was allowed to compete.

In his words, Millea said this is a case of “adults acting like third graders.”

He added that this incident is a black eye for the whole sport.

So, the question now is what will happen to the coaches of those teams that protested. Millea said he has talked to administrators from the five schools and they are going to talk to their coaches.

WCCO reached out to the five other teams involved, and received response from four of the schools.

The first was from Eden Prairie. It read:

“Eden Prairie Schools is currently in the process of gathering information about last weekend’s state dance tournament. We will conduct an investigation to determine the course of action that not only upholds the integrity of the sport, but also aligns with the district’s values.”

Lakeville was the other district to respond. Their statement was as follows:

“The district leadership takes issues like these very seriously. We are conducting an investigation into the situation and, based on the results of that investigation, determine the appropriate course of action to ensure that the integrity of the team, high school and district is upheld.”

Eastern Carver County Schools said the following:

“Eastern Carver County Schools and Chaska High School administration are aware of the situation from the State Dance Team High Kick competition on Saturday… We have been gathering more information about what transpired on Saturday and will continue to do so this week. Before we determine our next steps, we need to investigate further. As necessary, we will share information with the larger Chaska High School community.”

Wayzata officials released a statement saying:

“The Wayzata Public Schools is aware of what occurred Saturday night during the high kick competition of the State High School Dance Team competition at Target Center. Our coaches and dancers joined four other area school districts by not participating in the medal ceremony in an alleged protest against the Faribault team’s dance routine. Wayzata dancers placed second, but due to not complying with requests to properly line-up for the awards ceremony along with the four other participating teams, no second place medals were awarded.

“The events that occurred at Saturday night’s State Dance competition were unfortunate for everyone involved. We are currently conducting an investigation of what happened and look forward to working together with the Minnesota State High School League toward an outcome that is in the best interest of all the teams.”

The state high school league doesn’t have a rule in place that specifies how much dance teams are allowed to borrow from other squads. The rule only says outside choreographers are not allowed.

The league found the Emeralds did not violate the policy.

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