To boost that effort, the team has started hosting clinics for younger girls to prepare them for an eventual audition.
On a Friday afternoon in January, more than 80 elementary and middle school girls bopped in time at a clinic at the high school, learning kicks, leaps, turns, and performance tricks before dancing alongside the varsity team at a basketball game.
“I would say almost 95 percent [of team members come from a dance background]. It’s rare they get on the team without having years of experience,” said senior Rose Thackeray, one of the team’s four dance captains.
The 18-year-old Thackeray said she has been dancing since she was 3, and saw the dance squad as a next step to her serious hobby.
Being on the team is a lesson in commitment. The team practices five or six days a week for 2 to 2½ hours at a time — on top of dance lessons, summer programs, Pilates, and yoga practices to stay limber.
“Our work ethic on the team is very serious,” Thackeray said. “We take what we do very seriously, and when we go to competitions, we push ourselves as far as we can go.”
According to Campbell, the academic expectations are also high.
“It’s a very structured environment,” Campbell said. “Girls are accountable for everything, their grades at school, their progress reports, attendance. They have to stay eligible, but beyond that, 80 percent of my team is in honors and [Advanced Placement] classes.”
Yet for Campbell, the marker of success is always a moving target.
In addition to advancing her own choreography, Campbell has started taking note of teams in more competitive states, such as Connecticut, which can set the standard going forward.
“I told the girls I will give them any opportunity that I possibly can,” Campbell said. “I want to get them exposed to the world and prepare for college dance or whatever they want to do — give them as many opportunities as I can.
“That comes along with watching it start at the bottom. You have so much investment. It’s hard not to give it your all.”
Visit www.boston.com/braintree to view a photo gallery of the Braintree High School varsity dance team in rehearsal and a video of its performance at last week’s Bay State Conference competition.