Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, July 29, 2002

Energetic trio set to dance with team at state fair, Corn Carnival

By Lynda Jensen

Nonstop, high-energy dance is the specialty of three Howard Lake young people who are thrilling crowds far and wide.

Erick, Kacie, and Sheldon Carlsted, children of Marshall and Lee Ann Carlsted of Howard Lake, perform regularly as part of a Barbara Lee dance team, and have been travelling for the past several months.

The team is composed of 33 young people, who perform jazz, tap dance, marching and a style of dance known as "clogging," Lee Ann Carlsted said.

Clogging is like tap dancing, except with two pieces of metal on the shoe, instead of one, she said. It is much like the famous Riverdance style of dancing, she added.

Barbara Lee O'Reilly owns three dance studios at Annandale, Buffalo, and Monticello. The Carlsted children practice at the Buffalo studio.

"She's a stickler for perfection," Lee Ann commented of O'Reilly.

Erick and Kacie, 12, are twins, and Sheldon, 11, is also a twin with another brother, DayLan, 11. They attend Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district, with Erick and Kacie going into seventh grade; and Sheldon and DayLan entering sixth grade.

The dance team is scheduled for several engagements, including the Cokato Corn Carnival at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, and the Minnesota State Fair, on the Department of Natural Resources stage at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.

Don't be surprised to see them at the Wright County Fair Amateur Talent Contest as well, Lee Ann said, since the team plans to audition for it, too.

This spring, the team travelled to Florida, performing at the Tomorrowland Stage in The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, the Dockstage at Downtown Disney, and on the stage at Citywalk at Universal Studios.

Sheldon guessed that nearly 1,000 people witnessed the show at Disney World, but he wasn't fazed by the attention, he said.

In fact, Marshall also participates in dance as part of the Daddy-O's, another dance group. Kacie performs with the Fire Crackers, which is a group for 10 to14 year olds, which will perform at the state fair.

Infused with youthful exuberance, the team practices faithfully from September through August, Lee Ann said.

Their children practice about 12 hours per week, she said.

Prior to performances, the dancers (and parents) endure a four-month intense practice and rehearsal schedule (practices were four to five hours long each time the group met). They perform in "pre-shows" for the students to develop stage presence and showmanship.

Team members are chosen from auditions based on the dancers' skills, stage presence, energy, enthusiasm, respect, self-discipline, and dedication.

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