Leaps and bounds forward

The dance team reflects a fun, successful season, and the arrival of a new dance coach


Madison Wise

Logan LaRose stretches with the varsity dance team in the hallways at West Campus before their performance. The dance team hosted the Fox Valley Conference championship at West Campus on January 15.

Jared Bysiek, Features Editor

The MCHS varsity dance team stepped out towards the center of the West Main Gym on January 15. The crowd filled the available half of the gym, and clearly showed passion as applause overwhelmed the room. Silence fell as the team got into formation and the crowd watched intently as “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara began to play, and their routine began. 

The dance team performed with equal passion, staying focused and energetic as they carried on. Impressive moves, such as carrying a dancer around the gym with ease, brought applause, and as they finished, the crowd was roaring. Families and friends cheered and applauded loudly as the team walked off, concluding their Fox Valley Conference Championship performances.

This season, the cheer team has had a successful and entertaining run. With two invitational competitions and the football season, the dance team has had many opportunities to perform. “I think my favorite memory of the season this would have to be football season as a whole,” said varsity dancer Amanda Sikula. “I love performing at the games and being with my team. Football games will be something I will remember the most.” 

And while some teammates feel accomplished in improving their abilities or becoming captain, many people on the dance team seem to take great pride in the bond they have formed. “I feel the bond that we all have with each other makes our team extra special,” said JV dancer Morgan Pappas. “We are all a big family, and can always count on each other to be there for one another whenever it is needed. I also feel like our ability to work together and overcome our struggles at practice makes us very special.”

The team bonding and optimism isn’t the only thing that has made this season interesting, the dance team has also been introduced to a new coach,  family and consumer sciences teacher Samantha Babcock. “It feels good [to be the new coach],” she said. “It’s definitely a big transition being a new coach. There’s a lot I am having to learn, but it’s really been a great experience so far.” 

Being her first time coaching, the experience has been very exciting for her, and the sentiment seems to be shared with some of the teammates. When asked about the new coach, varsity dancer Alexis Kaplan said, “she’s a lot more laid back, and takes our opinions more […]. [Babcock] has been taking our opinions into account so it’s cool. Like, even as a sophomore, I still have a say, and that everything that we’re doing is right.” The dance team has also been honored with hosting this season’s FVC Varsity Dance Championships in the West Campus main gym for the first time. Hosting this event has brought excitement to the team. 

“I am super excited to host conference this year. It is the first year McHenry has hosted a dance competition,” Sikula said. “Especially since dance is something most of the student body does not pay attention to. I think having this opportunity to show our community what competitive dance is is very exciting!”


On the other hand, hosting the championships for the first time has also brought anxiety to some teammates. “There is a lot of pressure present on us being the hosting school and this is our big moment to show people what we got,” said Pappas. 

While emotions were mixed, placing ninth out of tenth in the championship, there seemed to be a common feeling of optimism for their outcome in the end.  “This season at conference we scored, really, our best score of the season so that was a really cool accomplishment because it was at our own school … we got a 79 [out of 100],” said Kaplan. 

“It’s really cool to have it here because we were able to help other teams like find their way around and for awards and stuff,” she added. “And when you host you get to perform last so that means everyone is watching you in the gym right before award so it’s like the biggest crowd we’ve performed in front of. So that was super cool.”

From fun and successful performances with the football team, to hosting the dance championships, and even the arrival of a promising new coach, the dance team had a very memorable season. A team with a strong bond, they have retained a sense of optimism and togetherness. “I feel the bond that we all have with each other makes our team extra special,” Pappas said. “We are all a big family, and can always count on each other to be there for one another whenever it is needed. I also feel like our ability to work together and overcome our struggles makes us very special.” 

This story was updated on January 28 to clarify each dancer’s team. A potentially offensive quote was also modified.