“Silent Dancer” qualifies for all-state speech festival

Screen Shot 2022 02 08 at 1.30.11 PMJohnston High School speech students Sophie Etnier and Riesa Kongshaug have qualified for the all-state festival for large group speech events, Feb. 19 at Iowa State Center in Ames.

The duo was among five Johnston groups competing at the state large group speech contest last weekend. They performed in the “ensemble acting” category — a 15-minute play performed by students with no costumes. They’re judged on characterization, vocal delivery, physical delivery and ensemble effect.

Etnier and Kongshaug’s performance, “Silent Dancer,” was about two people who meet in a performing arts high school and one of the people are in a wheelchair. They start conversing about different things and the one in the wheelchair comes to a realization that everything isn’t as they may think.

Silent Dancer scored the top score of “1” from all three judges. They were then nominated to be in the non-performing category for ensemble acting at the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA)’s all-state festival next week.

“An overall rating of a 1 is a great accomplishment for this group,” said Tyler Stough, the large group coach at Johnston. “There were over 60 ensemble acting groups divided into three centers. There are only so many slots that are available for performance at Iowa State but still getting recognized as an all-state performer is an amazing accomplishment.”

See the IHSSA website for a full list of all-state nominations unveiled Monday. The association notes: “Please remember that all groups listed below are considered outstanding, both performers and non-performers. Congratulations to all groups named as Outstanding Performers for the year 2022.”