Precision, Dedication, and Friendship: The Dance Team Grows as One


Reilly Smith

“When I dance, I feel free, and being a part of something bigger than myself is one of the best feelings ever,” co-captain Aislinn McCarthy said.

Mia Kritzer, Staff Reporter

This year, La Salle dance has officially transitioned from being a club to something even greater, a team.

After placing sixth in their most recent competition at Reynolds High School, the La Salle dance team is hoping to bounce back. “We would like to show [our competitors] that we are fighters and are going to give our everything,” co-captain Olivia Galbraith said. 

As a collective, the dancers plan to advance their technique and skills. “Everyone has been working really hard lately and we’ve been seeing huge improvements since last year,” co-captain Aislinn McCarthy said. 

She said that, for her, dance has always been an outlet to express emotions and tell stories through movement. Her favorite routine she’s ever done was a contemporary piece about climate change. “The entire audience could feel the impact,” she said. 

Galbraith emphasized that dance gives her something to look forward to every week, prompts her to practice healthy eating habits, and stay motivated in everyday life. “The way I feel when I dance changes often. Sometimes I feel very frustrated when I can’t [nail a routine,] but most of the time dancing makes me feel empowered,” she said. 

The dance team practices for about six hours each week, as they are currently gearing up for state. Co-captain Samantha Dillard remarked that going through the motions of a routine time after time can be excruciating, but the end result of the crowd’s cheering is always worth the hard work. 

Coach Niki Meyer said the girls are highly proficient in contemporary dancing, but are also focusing on upbeat hip-hop and jazz choreography. “[Both coaches] sacrifice so much for our team,” Galbraith said. “Coach Niki is extremely dedicated, [and, she’s] always going the extra mile to make our experience the best it possibly can be.”

In addition to a handful of freshmen, the girls welcomed a member of the team starting La Salle as a sophomore, Lynn Barnes. 

Barnes said that she easily felt that she belonged because of the team’s positive atmosphere. “My first day felt like being in a room full of my best friends,” she said. This year, her personal goal is to improve individually, while not being too hard on herself, as she only started dancing this year. 

The dancers exhibit immense amounts of dedication by supporting each other, and growing not only as dancers, but as people too. “These dancers have created sincere bonds and I watch them grow deeper every single practice,” Coach Meyer said.

Another member of the team, Nyah Torbert, said while dance often distracts her from the stress of her life, she feels nervous before performing in school assemblies. “It’s nerve wracking to think about how your peers will react to a performance, but hearing the rest of the team’s encouraging words helps a lot.”

Coach Meyer wants everyone to know how much physical and emotional strength it takes to dance. “There is so much emotional strength needed to step in front of a large crowd and be vulnerable. This team is strong and they represent La Salle with enormous pride,” she said.