Dance Team

Dance Team

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Dance Team

The Twin Cedars Community School District Board of Directors should decide in favor of funding a school dance team. Twin Cedars, a small country based school of approximately 500 students K-12, has never had the benefit of having a dance team. Two years ago, three Twin Cedars students got together with their dance instructor, Shannon Smith, an alumnist of Twin Cedars, and suggested that the school should have a dance team. Smith volunteered her time to coach and choreograph for a new dance team. Smith took this idea to the principal of Twin Cedars, Mike Helle. Helle agreed to allow Smith to start a dance team that could practice at school, but refused to fund the program as an extracurricular activity. This meant that if there was to be a dance team, all funds would have to be raised by the dance team members alone and Smith would have to volunteer all of her time and effort without being paid. Despite these two points Smith agreed to start the dance team.

Auditions were held, a team was formed, and the team members began choreography for their first routine. The new TC dance team had their own fundraisers and went asking for donations from local businesses, to help support the new team and help pay for dance team costumes. The team managed to raise enough to buy cheap costumes for all of the members. The new dance team had practice two days a week at 7:00 a.m. all year. They performed at a few football and basketball games throughout the year.

The next school year came around and the whole process was repeated. During this year the dance team even managed to put together a Saturday night show at the school, that included other surrounding school’s drill and dance teams. In the two years of the team’s existence the school administrators allowed for the use of the building for practice, they allowed the team to perform at sporting events, and they allowed the the team to have shows. On top of that, they announced the dance team as the Twin Cedars dance team and even added a new spot in the Twin Cedars Yearbook to allow for pictures of the dance team. The school took all the privileges of having a school dance team, yet took none of the responsibilities a school has for an extracurricular activity.

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In a very real sense the school administrators were having their cake and eating it too. In fact, at the end of the year, Mr. Helle even had the dance costumes collected and kept at the school even though the school had absolutely no rights to those costumes, since the fundraisers that were used to buy the costumes were in no part related to the school.

After the second year, Smith, having had enough of such poor treatment from the school, decided to call it quits. Many of the students of the former dance team were upset. These girls had enjoyed being a part of the dance team. They had put a lot of time and effort into the team and were not happy about giving it up. The members of the dance team at Twin Cedars are girls from very small towns. They did not grow up having much of an opportunity to learn to dance. The dance team was their chance. Several other of the small surrounding schools had dance teams and had had them for years. The team members did not want to give up so easy. The team had been a success and the community supported them as well.

Melissa Carlson, a choreographer for the Iowa State University dance and pom squad, who is a resident of the Twin Cedars school district, has stepped forward and volunteered to be the new Twin Cedars dance team instructor this year. Carlson is a professional choreographer who could turn the students of Twin Cedars from a make-shift team into a fully trained, top-notch dance team. The girls at Twin Cedars showed an overwhelming response in favor of the new team.

Now the only problem lies in the matter of the school board, and whether or not they value the dance team enough to accept it as another sponsored extracurricular activity for the school. It does not seem in the past that the school board has been to enthusiastic about the prospect of funding a school dance team, yet in the last year has begun sponsoring a girl’s golf team and a National Anthem singers group.

One of Twin Cedars school districts claimed major concerns always seems to be about lack of involvement of the students in extracurricular activities. Students are constantly be encouraged to join different athletic and music clubs. A dance team would provide an excellent new activity for more students to get involved with.

Perhaps the school board is only worried that sponsoring a new activity would mean adding a new coach to the payroll. That however, seems a small price to pay in order to provide such a common school activity that most other schools include. Suprisingly enough there are much smaller schools in the Twin Cedars Bluegrass Conference,such as Fox Valley and Diagonal, with much less funding that still manage to provide for a school dance team.
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