Redefining family


Blair Martin

The Homestead Varsity Dance team performs their Jazz routine “All for Us” at the Falls Invite Jan. 15.

As the first weekend in November approached, the dance team began working on their routines with the same goal in mind: performing well at Nationals. Just a few weeks in, the season took a turn as the girls learned they would be able to dance at the state football championship.

“One of my favorite highlights from this season was going to the state game because we also danced there freshman year, so it was super cool to complete the circle and dance there as a team while hearing the crowd cheer senior year,” Abigail Moertl, senior captain, said.

With state complete, the team’s focus shifted back to the competition season. After losing two members from the fall season, the team shrank to 11 dancers; senior captains Rachel Starsky, Abigail Moertl, Zoe David, Kendall Coburn, and Claudia Sulivan, juniors Lucy Charles, Avery Schlesinger and Shannen McGuire, and sophomores Summer Rilling, Tallyn Kubicki and Jordan Schumacher.

The small team dynamic has allowed the girls to become very close with each other.

“Even though we are a super small team, we all have become super close and we realized that that’s what makes us dance together. I love spending time with the girls at practice and outside of school; we’re literally one big family,” Starsky said.

Not only does the small team environment build strong friendships among the girls, but it also creates a positive learning and growing environment in practice and when performing their routines.

“Since our team is pretty small compared to past years, we are all very close and open with each other. This helps us perfect our dances and feel good together on the floor,” David said.

Sullivan agrees that being both a team captain and a close friend with the team allows her to feel confident with critiquing teammates. “Being with such a small team is a big benefit. We are all so close, it helps us be comfortable with correcting others so we can get our dances how we want them to look,” Sullivan said.

Back in September, the team was taught two routines during a UDA home camp, in hopes to qualify for Nationals. They sent both of the videos to be judged. Awaiting the results, the team received two blue ribbons in both of their routines, signifying that they made it to Nationals.

“Hearing that we made it to Nationals was the best feeling ever; However, now our season will be much more serious, tiring and exhausting because we want to win. Our focus is much higher,” Moertl said.

The team continued to work hard, despite only having two practices a week. “I think that if we remain driven we can do really well!” David added.

The team’s success after qualifying continued as competition season started. On Jan. 8, the team placed first in jazz and second in pom at the Badgerette State Showdown, which is one of the team’s favorite competitions.

“Badgerette is always really fun to go to, and taking first in jazz was really awesome. Seeing all the other teams again was fun too,” Rilling said.

The team’s bond continued to stay strong throughout the rest of the season, further adding to their success. On Jan. 15, at the Falls Invite, the team placed first in D2 pom and first in D1 jazz.

“When we were announced as 1st in both our jazz and pom dance I was thrilled and so proud of my team!” Coburn said.

The team performed at the ESPN center for Nationals held on Feb. 5 in Orlando, Florida. They danced in a conference composed of 55 teams. In small varsity pom, the team qualified for semi-finals.
“We were really pleased with both of our pom performances! It was so energetic and fun. We really brought on the energy and intensity,” Starsky said.