“OFF WITH HER HEAD,” the gym speakers blared as the brand new 2014-2015 Dance Company kicked off the Homecoming rally last Friday with the battle between Alice’s Cards and Dorothy’s Emerald City. With the dancers walking with a vengeance and kicking their legs past their faces, they proved to the school that they are ready for this cutting-edge year!
New year, new team. It’s inevitable. Yet, this year, Dance Company, under the direction of Ms. Maes, has taken on a whole new look, and it is working! Co-Captain Kyra Stevens(11) comments, “The new team is great this year! Everyone is very dedicated and passionate about dance!” Not only have they cut down their team’s size by almost half, but they have raised the bar incredibly high in order to gain the reputation they deserve. “I cut half my team because my expectations are so much higher. I expect strong technique, outside dance classes, a positive attitude to get better everyday, good grades and a creative mind. Students must be willing to take all styles of master classes and, most important, be a strong performer,” Maes contends. The team meets every morning at 6:45 for technique classes, conditioning, and, an aspect it relies heavily upon, student choreography. Dance Company is not a competitive team, but instead focuses on dance as an art form. “My goal was to create a program where students could express themselves artistically and athletically through dance. I didn’t want to go the competition route because I feel there is so much more in the world of dance besides a trophy. I wanted to challenge the dancers to use personal experiences and matters they wanted to express through dance,” continues Maes.
After their first performance of the year it became obvious to all of YLHS that these girls are training with more intensity than ever before. When asked for her opinion on her team Maes exclaims, “I feel that this is the most talented hard working group of girls I have ever worked with. I feel so lucky to work with [them] and see what they can do.” The team now maintains higher standards for each dancer and is held accountable by all members. With a Big Sis and Little Sis buddy system, every girl is held responsible for their effort in order to either be a good role model to the underclassmen or impress the upperclassmen. Only one freshman is on Dance Company and both seniors are first-year participants. The team could not contrast more from years past. “Being a freshman is fun because this is a whole new experience for me. It’s also difficult…because most of the girls on the team have been in Dance Co. for a couple years and already know each other, while I am new to the team and am still getting to know everyone,” declares Claire Stoops(9). Yet, she is not alone, the senior newbies are also learning the ropes of this team’s fast-paced schedule and creating bonds with their new team members. “I am honored to be one of the two seniors alongside my best friend, Alexis, and to, hopefully, be looked at for inspiration and critique,” says one of the seniors Cheyenne Kotick.
Yet, no matter what grade they are in, each girl is simply united to one another by one common love, dance. Carrying the drive to improve and the desire to do what they love, the girls really become one. Claire continues, “Dance Company has been so much fun. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know new people that I can connect with because we are all dancers. I also like that [it] is a smaller team this year because we are already becoming a family which will really help us connect in group dances.” The team’s camaraderie is almost tangible in their performances for this year. All members appear to be very excited about the ability to get to know one another on a deeper level in order to be there for each other as friends and relate as dancers. “I love the new team because it’s way smaller and, even with the new people, I feel like we’re a lot closer! Also, the level this year is higher, which makes our routines and shows better,” responds Sidney Tran(10). “I’ve only been on it for a year, but last year the team was very large…it was harder to bond and communicate with everyone; plus, half our team was seniors. It was a really good team last year too, but I think this year everything is much cleaner, and we are [much closer],” Sidney continues.
It is evident that incredible things can be expected by our Dance Company, and that they cannot wait to share their talent with the school this year. “As a captain, I hope that the team continues to grow and improve as the year goes on and to make the entire school more aware of all the different performances that Dance Company is involved with,” Kyra contends. Now that the spotlight is on them, these girls are ready to impress. Without a doubt, it’s going to be an awe-inspiring year for this group!
Don’t forget to come support Dance Company in their first of three dance shows this year on December 5th and 6th!