Dance team continues to grow at OHS

Zara Hertafeld, Staff Reporter

Despite having started last year, Okemos’ dance team has become well integrated into OHS athletics. The dance team has performed at the home football games, the pep assembly and will be at extracurricular events such as basketball games and the talent show.
The team was started by Alana Reome and Jessica Swanson, who are the team coaches.
“They’re alum of Okemos, and they were on the dance team when Okemos had a dance team before. Now that they have kids in the district and they heard that there wasn’t a dance team, they wanted to start one and did their best to get information out about tryouts and who would be interested,” Adam Lacasse said. Lacasse was on the team last year as a senior, and helped spread the word about tryouts.
Something that distinguishes the dance team among other OHS athletic programs is the student leadership. “We have two captains and we have two coaches, and [leadership is] pretty much half and half,” Avery Blair (9) said.
The two captains are Grace Roberts (10) and Sydnie Thomas (11). “They help schedule our practices and text us information we need, and then they also help choreograph and clean our dances,” Blair said.
However, leadership wasn’t limited to just the captains.
“[The coaches] really liked putting team members in charge. If there was a team member who wanted to choreograph a dance they were open to do so. Some of the routines were very much a collaborative effort. There would be one or two members leading the routine and then if team members had ideas or things they wanted to add in then that input was also welcome,” Lacasse said.
Their collaborative spirit hasn’t faltered, but the team is still improving in other ways.
Elise Brent (10) reflected on how things have changed since their first year on the team.
“We’ve gotten a little more organized,” Brent said.
And they plan to continue doing just that.
Grace Roberts talked about the team’s goals for the rest of the year.
“More fundraisers and more ways to be involved with the school,” Roberts said.
The team is also working on thinking of more activities and events to perform at. They tried one out this year.
“We did a dance camp over the summer in July, which was really fun,” Sydnie Thomas said.
The dance camp was three nights and took place at Oakland University, where they learned combinations they plan on using throughout the year.
Giving up time during their summer is only one example of the team members’ dedication to the dance team. They practice after school twice a week, but they also meet before school on game days.
Overall, the team is a team, on the dance floor and off.
“We’ve done a lot of team bonding,” Roberts said.
“The whole team is super nice and it’s just like a big family now,” Blair said.