Dancers Endure Whirlwind of Changes but Push Through to Continue As a Team


Photo Courtesy of Brooke Jensen

The Central Hardin Dance Team (From left to right: Jessica Hardy, Reaghan Scarborough, Alyssa Vittitow, Rhiannon Goodman, Brooke Jensen-coach, and Maegan Harlan-assistant coach) stands proud with their coaches, ready to preform.

Carlie Clements, Staff Writer

Central Hardin’s Dance Team has had a challenging year.

The team began this school year with science teacher Angela Galm as the coach, but unfortunately, she had to leave the team after moving to another state. The team leadership was then absorbed by English teacher Brooke Jensen.

“I was personally devastated when I heard the news that Mrs. Galm was moving back to Georgia,” senior co-captain Rhiannon Goodman said. “She was and still is, one of my favorite teachers, and I was so sad to hear she was leaving. After the news had set in, I realized that the Dance Team was at stake. If we didn’t find a new teacher sponsor, we wouldn’t have a Dance Team. Luckily, we found Mrs. Jensen and she quickly rose to the challenge. She began organizing our performances and ordering our uniforms and even planning for next year. I felt a lot less stressed, and I felt grateful to her for helping in such a big way.”

Although the transition between coaches went over very smoothly, the team endured some student leadership difficulties.

Goodman said that “it was a little bit difficult when dancers kept leaving and a little discouraging. Many of those who quit had other commitments and the girls and me who remained on the team were disappointed but we kept dancing and kept pushing through. In the end, there were four of us on the team, but we were committed to choreography and each other and performed just as well as we would have with a dozen girls.”

The lack of team members was a growth opportunity for the team.

“My goal when I took over in 2020 for Mrs. Galm due to her situation was to do my best for the students who wanted to participate so that everything for which they worked and hoped wouldn’t end without a rewarding season,” Jensen said. “Then, we could build from there. There were a variety of reasons why some students left: some related to committing all time to one sport/activity, some related to prioritizing school and work, and others, unfortunately, involved following the attitudes and actions of others rather than dedicating oneself to a team’s current goals.  I wasn’t going to quit on the team, and those who had the true spirit of teamwork didn’t quit either.”

The team members who stuck with the team and two new members have been motivated and dedicated, working hard to keep the team afloat.

The team’s ability to push through together was very crucial to their success. 

“We didn’t dwell on what we didn’t have. We focused each day on looking forward,” Jensen said.

The group worked hard during their practices to perform well.

“Practices were held two days a week on days that worked best for the group,” Jensen said.  “Leaders led the group in warm-ups and stretching and core and body strengthening.  Teaching to new members involved task-analysis/breakdown and a steady progression to speed and to the timing of the music.  Dancers signed video/image agreements so that I was able to utilize video to enable dancers to critique themselves during practice (our assistant coach would assist with video) and to practice independently at home.  Using film for those purposes really leveraged our ability to perfect our program.”

The small but determined group has decided to put in place new regulations next year to improve turnout and dedication, so they can continue with their practice.

“Next year, we’re going to set boundaries and rules that you have to follow,” freshman Reaghan Scarborough said. 

These new requirements have been well thought out in hopes to improve the team as a whole.

 “We’ve already secured two dates in April on which we will conduct what we’re calling ‘team-building’ rather than ‘tryouts,'” Jensen said.  “Tryouts automatically lead to cutting individuals who don’t meet a standard. We need to build our numbers and categorize individuals in a way that’s flexible to their dance strengths and interest as well as their commitment and progress.  Basically, everyone who commits makes the team, starts at a demonstrated level, and progresses with consistent practice. This is consistent with the bylaws regarding tryouts for our sports activity.”

Due to the team following their guidelines — no drama, just dedicate yourself, attend all practices, never give up, communicate effectively and positively, and encourage one another — they have had a fantastic season.

The team has had two performances since Jensen has been the coach, and have some great memories from those.

“My greatest memories by far were of our performances on February 10 and 18,” Jensen said. “Our first performance was special because Jessica was participating, and the team and I had worked very hard in a short timeframe to teach her moves with which she was comfortable and through which she could participate for the entire routine rather than just a portion.  That performance was also a milestone for the entire team because it allowed them to gain confidence in their performance ability. By performing without mistake, they were both proud and exhilarated.”

While the group’s season may now, the KHSAA- recognized sports activity is prepared to make great new memories in Dance Team next year and possibly even during a camp.

“I’d like to explore the ideas of reaching out to district coaches to host a local camp and/or attend a team and coaching camp then declare for competition in the fall (a new milestone for the team),” Jensen said.