The dance team prepares for the upcoming season


Joseph Murphy

Grace Boyer (left), sophomore, and Brooke Thomsen (right), sophomore, take center stage with the rest of their dance team on September 8th’s football game.

As the dance team heads into the coming fall season, they have various goals to accomplish. The team wants to succeed with a majority of the team underclassmen, and new coaches, but they feel ready. Below is an interview with team captain Stella Gorsuch, junior, along with sophomores Ella Kerner, Ayla Gray, Grace Boyer, Brooke Thomsen, and Evelyn Morlan.

[Helena Erdahl]: What inspired you guys to join the team?

[Ella Kerner]: I had been looking for something to get involved with dance in the area. And then my neighbor told me that there was a dance for the high school. So I tried out.

[Ayla Gray]: My mom had a dance team in high school and I was looking for a community of people where I could find myself.

[Stella Gorsuch]: My sister’s on the Debs and then I got to know like all the people in the team so that inspired me to just keep going with that and then meeting the new members last year, made me want to keep going this year.

[Grace Boyer]: I was a freshman, so I was looking for a community where I felt like I could fit in and grow as a person in a way that made me feel safe in a new school. And I just learned to love the community. So then I stayed.

[Brooke Thomsen]:  I was looking for another dance team to join and Ayla told me about tryouts. 

[HE]: Was last season a success for you guys and what were the things you might have wanted to improve upon the season?

[SG]: Last year’s success was getting close as a team, but I think that that was after a lot of people had quit and we had a rough little patch with the team and then moving on this year, I think communication [is something] we need to focus on because, with the new members, I want everyone to be dedicated and find their passions. 

[EK]: Last year was a success. Everyone grew so much and learned a lot and grew together as a team. Agree with the communication through, I felt like some people were operating on different wavelengths for a couple of weeks, but it’s something we can move past if we try hard enough. 

[GB]: I think after last year, we got first place in one of our competitions. It started this drive for this determination to keep pushing through and learn more. I think that was important for our team.

[AG]: Last year, we were close as a team. It was like a borderline family and we were spending all of our time with each other practicing and striving to do our best even if that didn’t mean taking home first. We were doing our best for ourselves. We were always beating our personal best and this year I feel we need to get closer together before we can try and beat our best.

[HE]: Who has been impactful this season? Who do you guys think has been inspiring or helpful and making a lot of progress?

[ALL]: Stella for sure.

[GB]: She does so much for us and then also our ex-captains, our captains from last year who graduated Carla [Khoury], Vanessa [Kraetschmer], and Macie [Kelley]. They just mean a lot to us and have inspired us so much.

[AG]: Without the captains from last year, I don’t think that any of us would have the drive that we do now. 

[EK]: They treated us all like we were their own family and they helped us with wanting to be better, wanting to keep going because they were just so inspiring. They kept pushing, even when it wasn’t that fun.

[AG]: Stella’s picking up where they left. 

[EK]: Yeah, and she’s doing a great job so far.

[SG]: For me, I would say the new coaches[Ally Cannon and Bethany Greff] because I’ve known them since I was eight. So they’re like my older siblings. And they’re just super inspiring to me and they’re helping me with being a captain by myself.

[HE]: Okay, so what setbacks or challenges have you guys been working on this year? And what would you like [to] improve upon for this coming season?

[AG]: We need to improve our communication with each other. If we’re going to be close, and if we’re going to perfect our community, then we need to be on the same wavelength and understand where each other is coming from.

[SG]: I think we also, for some dancers and me, need help learning [our] place with a team. Because we’re all a team together. It’s not one person’s team. It’s not my team. It’s not their team. We’re all just one big team.

[HE]: So I’m just wondering about what kind of activities you guys participate in. Is it big competitions as well as football games, or how does that work?

[SG]: Well, we do the football games, we do every home game. And then we do community activities, that type of thing, like the [West Linn] Parade, the [Old Town] Fair, and May Day. 

[EK]: We have the little workshop. We have the dancing with the Debs. We have little community workshops for the little kids. We didn’t do that last year, but I think it’s on track to happen this year.

[GB]: We’re doing new camps this year with little kids, helping them find their passions and stuff. But that’s just a small part of what we do. I would say like the majority of the practice that we do is for competitions. We have the fall season and then we have the winter season. 

[SG]: Fall season is mostly like a little semi-final type of thing. And we’re going to do Nationals this year. So traveling around the room, and then in between fall and state season, but it’s competition for travel.

[Evelyn Morlan]: For fall we normally do pom and contemporary routines. 

[GB]: And then winter is the state season, which we do show. We always compete for show for the state. 

[HE]: What do you guys hope to [do], as your big goals for this season?

[SG]: I would say just be stronger in communication, and conditioning, working out every day, and just actually being physically stronger. We have been in the past and getting back to before COVID[-19]. 

[GB]: Of course, winning is awesome. I’m also aware that we have a young team. We don’t have any seniors and we only have one junior. And even though I love Stella so much, it’s so hard, as a team to only have one upperclassman and a lot of us are inexperienced. 

[SG]: Usually, most teams have like 40 dancers and we’re a group of 19. But honestly, I think that makes us stronger because we’re working together. 

[EK]:  It’s easier to become a closer-knit group with a smaller size. I think just maybe not even like winning but improving our place like getting higher at state than we scored last year, even if it’s not first, is proving that we can do better than we were last year. That’d be a big goal for me.

[GB]: Doing the best that we can, and also becoming close as a team because the dance team is more of a family than it is a dance team. 

{Whole group laughs}

[AG]: Yeah, literally that’s where we spend all of our time.