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Dancers from BHS perform in Florida

Four dancers from Bemidji High School performed in the Outback Bowl's pre-game and halftime shows on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla. They are, from left, Maura McDanel, Alicia Takhar, Sabrina Hockenson and Bobbi Borowski. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

As the Outback Bowl's halftime show was about to begin, four dancers from Bemidji High School took their places on the field of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Senior Bobbi Borowski, freshman Sabrina Hockenson, senior Maura McDanel and senior Alicia Takhar performed with about 200 dancers from high schools and middle schools across the nation on New Year's Day in the bowl game's pre-game and halftime shows.

Bobbi, Maura and Alicia are members of the BHS varsity high kick and jazz teams and Sabrina is a member of the BHS varsity high kick and junior varsity jazz teams.

"It was just really cool to actually be there," Sabrina said.

The girls signed up to dance in the bowl game shows through the Just For Kix dance company.

"We fundraised the whole summer," Bobbi said.

This fall, they received a DVD showing the dance routines they would perform at the bowl game, allowing them to practice at home before arriving in Florida.

Once in Florida, the girls met with other dancers before game day for morning practices.

"It was cool to know what goes on behind the scenes," Maura said.

On New Year's Day, the dancers entered the field prior to the bowl game between the University of Iowa and the University of South Carolina to perform in the pre-game show. With red, white and blue pompoms, they danced to a mix of recorded patriotic music.

At halftime, the dancers teamed up with about 1,300 musicians from high school bands across the nation to perform a show with a theme featuring "The Wizard of Oz."

The dancers dressed up like Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" - complete with blue-and-white dresses, braided hair and glittery red shoes - and performed to songs from the film.

"There were so many people in the stands," Maura said.

"It didn't seem like it was real," Bobbi said.

During their week in Florida, the girls also visited Busch Gardens, Clearwater Beach and Disney's Animal Kingdom. On New Year's Eve, they went on a dinner cruise on Tampa Bay that included a dance party.