Nov. 27, 2006

Dancing for the audience inspires danceline participants

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

As winter season is coming forth, danceline is eager to start competing in competitions and expressing itself in doing what it loves most – “dancing for the audience.”

Danceline kicked off its season recently to prepare for the intense, daily practices as competition time nears.

Coaches Laurie Schaust, Lezlie Chase, and Melissa Welz firmly believe that their girls have all the talent to succeed.

But, dance is more than showing up for practice, getting in shape, and learning the dances – it is about commitment.

Leading the girls through every practice and competition, Ctaptains Raya Zimmerman, Katherine Sangster, and Emily Hutter feel optimistic about this season.

On an average night, these 19 girls will practice two to three hours. When asked to describe the practices, Zimmerman nodded, as she said, “run, stretch, kick, kick, water break, kick.”

Dance gives Hutter a huge “adrenaline rush. It’s like performing on stage, except you can’t breathe,” she said.

Zimmerman agreed, adding, “It’s totally different from every other sport, and it’s one of the only ones where you are able to express yourself and show your attitude.”

Sangster finds dance to be the most “rewarding when performing in front of an audience.”

All the captains work together with a choreography team (Angela Snaza, Lydia Hemmer, and Amanda Hudak) to choreograph every dance throughout the course of the school year.

There are typically about four to five competitions in a season. Danceline is required to perform two dances for each competition – high kick and jazz funk.

The judges will score each dance on a scale of one through 10, with 10 being the highest, and one being the lowest. Each score is taken very seriously because it not only informs the team of its strengths, but it also shows an open door for improvement.

Like many activities, danceline receives very little funding. It is an expensive sport, as each girl needs a costume for each dance.

The girls basically become their own fundraising committee.

This past May, the girls organized a dance camp for grades kindergarten through six. As teachers, they shared their talent with the youth, and ended camp with a recital for all the parents.

This past month, the girls have begun their yearly pie sales, and they have been known to put on a breakfast or two at the Delano American Legion and at Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill.

If there is something the danceline needs, it’s a place to practice.

Currently, the team works in the school cafeteria, which has a hard floor that makes jumping and high kicks difficult and hard on the dancers’ feet. Danceline hopes to practice in a gym in the near future.

Some girls see themselves dancing even beyond high school. Hutter hopes to apply dance to her theatre background in pursuit of becoming an English/drama teacher. Sangster, Hemmer, Snaza, and Hudak hope to dance in college.

All the girls agree that dance is a sport where there is no giving up. A dancer never just starts out perfect. Practice, dedication, and love for the sport will promote success.

Hutter smiled as she said, “You really have to have your heart into it.”

Zimmerman also touched on how some dancers are born with certain strengths. “I am the most inflexible person on the team, but does that make be a bad dancer? No.”

Hutter emphasized, “We’re a family.” When a person joins danceline, he or she becomes a part of something special.

“We get so unbelievably close,” she added.

“If you have the passion for it, don’t let anything stand in your way,” Snaza said. “Just do it, and you’ll succeed.”

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