Dance team hosts first official clinic


Photo credit: Leslie Genest

Attendees performed at the halftime show during the boys varsity basketball game on Jan. 31. “I think it’s a really great team-building opportunity,” Genest said. “The girls get to work together to help put the dance together, put the flyers out so they really need to strategize with each other on ways to be successful on getting the job done.”

By Caitlin Bush and Michal Ruprecht

On Jan. 31, kids from around Grosse Pointe danced at the halftime show for the varsity boys basketball game against Roseville High School.

This was part of the Dance Team’s first official kids clinic. According to head coach Leslie Genest, the team did a test run clinic last year, but they were more prepared and organized this year.

“The girls got engaged early with getting flyers out and getting the word out and that helped us reach a lot of elementary school kids who we wouldn’t have been able to reach in previous years,” Genest said. “That helped us get a really good attendance this year.”

The program is $35 per child and open to kindergartners through eighth graders. The fee covers a T-shirt, dance poms and a pizza party. This year the team is using the funds to attend the United Dance Force College League Camp in the summer.

Photo credit: Leslie Genest
Seniors Fiona Byrne and Hannah Spindler lead the group. “It was a little overwhelming ‘cause all the kids, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be,” Byrne said. “They were all really good listeners.”

“It’s usually a three- to four-day overnight camp, and so fundraising helps us put money aside so that it’s not as big of a cost to parents and team members,” Genest said. “It’s a great fundraising opportunity for the team. It helps them to do something that allows them to earn money that they work toward. And then for me I find it a really important activity f0r my team members because I believe in engaging our community and engaging the younger members of our community and getting them excited about our high school, getting them excited about the Dance Team specifically.”

Each team member plays a role in the clinic. Seniors Fiona Byrne, Hannah Spindler and freshman Sophia Smith choreographed the dance while the others distributed flyers and taught kids dance techniques.

“At first, we created a dance that we didn’t know would be way too hard for them because the music was very fast and were like, ‘kindergarteners probably wouldn’t be able to keep up,’ so we took the moves we did, made them more slow and simple and we got to a point where the kids could do it and they enjoyed it,” Smith said.

Although Byrne and her teammates experienced some difficulties at the beginning of the clinic, she said the experience helped with her people skills and taught her how to work better with kids. She also enjoyed seeing the kids improve their dance skills and hopes they join the Dance Team in the future.

Photo credit: Leslie Genest
Sophomore Shella McNamara helps to demonstrate a dance move.

“I wanted the kids to have fun mostly,” Byrne said. “But also if little girls or boys were interested in dancing that maybe they would come and try it out and eventually become dancers themselves or come here in a few years and dance.”

Genest said the clinic brought recognition and a sense of unity to the team. She said she wants to do it again next year and pass out flyers to all the elementary schools to get more attendees.

“As long as I have team members who enjoy it and want to carry it out, I will definitely continue to push for it,” Genest said. “ It’s a lot of work so it really requires all of the team members to work together to make it happen, but I definitely see that there’s a lot of value in it and something that I’d like the team to continue.”