‘One team, one heart’

The dance team travels a long road to nationals


Kelsey Jones

Freshman La’Quera Williams, junior Madison Baker and freshman Joshlynn Tanner dance during practice on Feb. 20. The dance team has practiced almost every day after school to prepare for nationals.

Perfecting their routines and stunts, the dance team prepares for nationals. With a music mash-up playing over the speakers, the girls have a look of determination on their faces. They are focused on making sure all of the moves are precise and perfect.

“They start looking better and cleaner as we go,” dance team coach Jessi Walpole said.

This year has been filled with growth for the team, both interpersonally and with their ultimate achievement of qualifying for nationals.

At the beginning of the season, the girls say, they were not functioning as a complete team. Instead, they had different friend groups split up.

However, the girls agree that as the season continued to progress, they became more like a team. According to Walpole, the team spends so much time together now that they have become like a family. She says they do argue like any family would, but they always end up making up and being there for each other.

“It’s really like once you’re in your family… you can’t get out,” Walpole said.

This family dynamic hasn’t diminished, especially since the girls found out they made it to nationals.

“I think at the beginning of the season we were having more fun and not taking everything seriously,” senior Kaylie Fallowfield said. “But now that we actually have the chance to go to nationals this year, which we’ve never been able to do, I feel like we are very motivated to actually do good.”

Walpole also said that the team has benefitted from becoming closer. They are able to work better as a team and be more in sync, which is an important part of the sport. Their bond as a team has been strengthened by all of the time they spend with each other.

“They’ve gotten to this level of being like ‘It’s not just about me, it’s about us,’” Walpole said.

Not only have they grown as a team, they also feel they have become better dancers. Fallowfield has been on the team since freshman year and believes that they have gotten better throughout the years.

“I feel like when I was a freshman things weren’t as strict, but also our team was very small and we didn’t have a lot of people,” Fallowfield said. “

Contributed by the dance team
The team went to East Central High School’s Invitational competition on Feb. 2. This competition qualified them for nationals.

Through the years we’ve gotten bigger and grown as a team.”


The team has had success, but they have a new challenge to face: nationals. The team has to depend on fundraisers, sponsors and donations in order to go.

Nationals takes place in Louisville, Kentucky on April 3 and 4. By that time, the team will need to have a total of approximately $2,000. The team has already started to do fundraisers, like babysitting other teachers’ kids, in hopes to reach their goal.

Principal Brian Kight said that the dance team is not an IHSAA sport, meaning that they do not get any funding from the Athletic Department. In addition, the money that the school receives from the state has to be used for educational purposes, which excludes the dance team. All of this means that the dance team is responsible for their own funding.

“Athletics is completely self-sustaining,” Knight said. “The money that we get from the state, like per student, that all has to be spent on school day curricular type things. Everything else is really, in all honesty, funded by itself.”

However, the girls said that this predicament has not discouraged them. If anything, they have been motivated to work harder and start focusing better.

“I never want money to be a reason we can’t do something,” Walpole said.

At the start of the year, the girls were not taking practices very seriously, freshman La’Quera Williams says. They were not focused during practices and just did not pay attention very well.


But now, Williams says that the girls are motivated to always do their best and focus on

what needs to get done. They all want to do well at Nationals, and that’s what has motivated this large push to show up and give practice their all.

Although the whole team gets to travel to nationals, every girl may not be chosen to ac

tually perform. As the date of the competition gets closer and closer, Walpole and assistant coach Krista Perry are looking for the best girls to put on stage to compete.

“Now people are getting cut… Everyone wants to dance, so you better work your butt off or you’re getting cut,” Williams said.

Walpole says the hard work that is being put in almost every day after school is paying off. The girls have shown better technique, become all-around better dancers and have grown into a family.

“I think our motto has slowly become ‘one team, one heart,’” Walpole said.