Siouxland dance studio “Just For Kix” performs at ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 7:13 PM CST
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SPENCER, IA (KTIV) - While most of us spent January 2nd braving the winter storm, one northwest Iowa dance team was in sunny Florida, performing at the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa.

Dance company “Just For Kix” has studios in over 200 communities across the country, including one right here in Spencer, Iowa. Through the company, these dancers have the opportunity to put on a performance they’ll never forget.

“Through “Just For Kix”, we have our regional and national competitions,” said Suzi Harper, Director of “Just For Kix” in Spencer. “And any of our programs are able to compete through that and qualify and continue to attend the bowl games anytime they are able to. And like I said, we like to go every 3 years because I feel like that allows everybody at least one time in their high school years to go even though it is offered to dancers 2nd grade and up.”

This year, 27 dancers from Spencer “Just For Kix” made the trip down to Tampa, Florida to perform both pregame and at halftime at the ReliaQuest Bowl between Mississippi St. and Illinois. Some Spencer dancers even got to hold the flag during the pregame flyover.

It’s the 5th bowl game that Spencer “Just For Kix” attended, and they shared the field with nearly 700 other dancers from 9 different states.

“We were standing in formation on the field next to west Sioux Falls, and Farmington, Lakeville, Minnesota, Prior Lake Minnesota,” said Harper. “There was a group of twirlers that were from southern Tennessee that was just 5 yards in front of us even. So very, very diverse area where we could meet so many people from.”

And for the dancers, it was a great opportunity to make new connections.

“I think it’s really good that all the dancers get out of their comfort zone and meet new people,” said Jill Moser, a high school junior and dancer at Spencer “Just For Kix”. “Like Suzi was saying, we stand next to people that we don’t even know and by the end of the trip we exchange Snapchats and we are still talking to them right now.”

The dancers fundraised for the trip in the months leading up and learned the choreography from videos sent out in November. They also had 4-hour practices each day from when they arrived in Tampa to the day of the performance.

By the time January 2nd came around, they were ready to leave it all out on the field.

“It’s just very unreal to walk out and see so many people in the stands,” said Aubrey Larson, a high school sophomore and dancer at Spencer “Just For Kix”.

“I just looked around and I saw everyone in the audience,” said Moser. “And then I saw like, my friends from my studio and other friends that I made. And it was just like a sigh of relief that all of the hard work that we put in finally paid off.”

The team also did much more than dance while they were there. They visited the beach, Busch Gardens, Disney and Universal Studios, and had a special dinner on a yacht.