MANLIUS —The Bureau Valley High School dance team “took care of business” when it performed at the recent state competition in Springfield.
BVHS dance coach Lisa Jackson said the Bureau Valley dance team qualified for the state competition by receiving a score of at least 80 at regional competitions at Dunlap High School and Hononegah High School. Fifty-six routines were performed at state by various dance, flag and color guard teams from around Illinois.
Fourteen-members strong, the Bureau Valley team performed a pom routine with the theme of “Taking Care of Business.” The songs included “9 to 5,” “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Hard Day’s Night” and “Taking Care of Business.” Team members Janelle Norden, Ali Siltman, Julia Edelfson, Chelsea Higgins and Marissa Lewis choreographed this year’s routine.
Jackson said the Bureau Valley team includes four freshmen, three sophomores, five juniors and two seniors. The team practices from 6 to 7:30 a.m. every school day. The team performs at every home football and basketball game, as well as at the Walnut Fourth of July parade and fireworks.
Senior Janelle Norden, a member of the BVHS dance team for three years, recently talked about what the dance team experience has meant to her.
“I love how we become like a family. Our season runs from about June to February, and we see each other almost every morning at 6 a.m. It’s kind of like a home away from home because I spend so much time with these girls,” Norden said. “Being on the dance team has helped my high school experience simply because I love dance. It’s given me something to look forward to during the stressful school year.”
Norden said she will take away from her dance team experience the knowledge that even when people have their differences, team members can always be counted upon to pull each other through.
Junior Ali Siltman, a third-year team member, also talked about her experiences as a member of the dance team and what she will take with her from that experience after high school.
“I like that I have a 6 a.m. family. Because we are all levels, I don’t see most of these girls any other time besides morning practice. I know that we are close even if we don’t see each other during the day. I’ve become super close with this team and am so happy to be a part of this team.” Siltman said.
The dance team has definitely made her “come out of my shell,” she added.
“As a freshman, I was reserved and pretty quiet. Being a part of the dance team meant going to all the games to perform, of course, and that is where I got to know most of my class (mates) and a lot of other people in the school,” Siltman said. “Now as a junior, I’m no longer shy. I am an outgoing and talkative dancer. Without dance, I might have remained the quiet freshman I once was.”
As far as the ongoing benefits of being on the dance team, Siltman said she’s learned leadership skills and multi-tasking which will help her with future experiences. As captain for the first time this year, she now understand how much hard work and dedication it takes to run a team. The team multi-tasks all the time in dance, sometimes juggling three routines in one week. She wants to carry those skills into her college life in balancing classes and extracurriculars, Siltman said.
In her second year as head coach, Lisa Jackson said she and her assistant coach Gracey Dale have loved getting to know the girls on the team and working with them throughout the year.
“We spend so much time with them that it feels like a family by the end of the season,” Jackson said.
The benefits of being a member of the BVHS dance team are many, the coach said.
“I want the girls to not only have fun and improve their dancing skills, but I also want them to practice skills such as perseverance, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills that they will need in life,” Jackson said.
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