Larkin poms cheered by chance to perform at Orange Bowl halftime
By Emily McFarlan Miller firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2012 2:04PM
Larkin poms team at rehearsal for the Orange Bowl halftime show, waiting for choreographer Cris Judd. | Submitted by Larkin High School poms coach Laura Newmeyer.
Updated: February 2, 2013 6:17AM
ELGIN — Dancing. Getting some sun. Spending time at the beach. Appearing in the halftime show with country star Jake Owen during the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Isn’t that how everybody in Elgin School District U46 spends their winter break?
It is if they’re one of the girls on the Larkin High School poms team, who had their pick of games at which to perform after winning the TEAMDance Illinois state championship in March.
That’s according to Larkin poms coach Laura Newmeyer, a second-grade teacher at Timber Trails Elementary School in Hoffman Estates.
“It’s a huge, huge opportunity,” Newmeyer said. “Nothing like this has ever happened — at Larkin? I don’t think so in their 50-year history.”
All but one of the 12 girls on the high school’s poms team, ranging from freshmen to seniors, will dance during the halftime show of the Discover Orange Bowl game between the Northern Illinois Huskies and Florida State Seminoles, airing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.
They’re a small part of the 480 dancers who will take the field, according to the coach, but at the start of the show they’ll be at the 50-yard line — right at the front of the stage. The show will feature three of Owen’s songs, ending in “glowsticks and pyrotechnics,” she said.
“My girls are having the best time of their lives. They’re working very hard,” Newmeyer said.
The team arrived on Thursday in Florida because, the coach said, she didn’t want them to get snowbound in Chicago. Instead, they spent two days on the beach “sightseeing and relaxing and enjoying ourselves and Fort Lauderdale.”
They’ve been inside a convention center since, working with well-known choreographers such as Jamal Sims, who choreographed all the “Step Up” movies; and Travis Wall, a choreographer for the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?” They also have worked with Cris Judd, who is choreographing the halftime show.
After all that hard work, Newmeyer reported, her team is “not even nervous.”
“They’re being noticed and recognized, and they’re learning a lot of different styles of dance,” she said. “They’re very disciplined dancers. They’re being fabulous performers. I can’t say enough about them.”
“And they’re staying true-blue Royals.”