GVSU dance team to host Kids Clinic

First-year program hopes to teach, inspire young dancers

By Josh Peick | 1/13/16 10:48pm

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GVL / Courtesy - Rael Orao Women's dance team


The Grand Valley State dance team often performs different routines during halftime of the football and basketball games throughout the year. But at the GVSU basketball game on Jan. 30, the dance team will look a little different. To be more specific, it will look a little younger.

The Laker dance team will host its first ever kids clinic on Jan. 30. The dance team will provide the kids, ages 7-14, a day filled with activities, capped off by a performance from the team and kids during halftime of the basketball game.

Kailee Harris, a senior GVSU dancer and the clinic coordinator, has been working since June 2015 on the project.

“It was up to me to not only create the layout and schedule for the clinic, but to also get the event approved by athletics,” Harris said. “Once athletics approved the event, everything seemed to fall into place.”

“We will be teaching the dancers choreography that is appropriate for their age level,” said GVSU head dance coach Rael Orao. “We will also be playing games, along with team bonding activities before the basketball game.”

At halftime of the game, the young dancers will perform the routine that they were taught earlier in the day at the clinic.

The Laker dance team is not only looking to teach the kids a dance routine, but teach them lessons from being a dancer and how to apply those lessons outside of the dance studio.

“The biggest thing I want to teach the kids is to stick to whatever your passion is, even if people tell you not to,” said Laker captain Allie Steele. “I think being a young dancer can be hard at times because there are times when dance doesn't give you an immediate reward.

“I would like to give the kids advice in how you can use the confidence and structure dance gives you in your everyday life.”

The Laker dance team will be able to easily relate to the kids attending the clinic, because they have been in the kids’ positions before.

“My teammates and I were all little dancers at one point in our lives, looking up to that one specific dancer who truly inspired each and every one of us,” Harris said.

Harris and her other teammates hope to be the dancer to inspire one of the young dancers to follow their dreams and continue dancing at a higher level. But after the clinic, the Laker dance team will be back to business.

The clinic will be the last event before the dance team kicks into high gear prior to the NDA national competition. The Lakers received first-place honors last year in the NDA Division II Open Dance category. In order to repeat, GVSU will ramp up practices in February from three to four practices a week, to go along with three halftime performances throughout the month.

“Every performance we do is another practice moment for nationals,” Steele said. “This helps with different skills used in our routines and the performance quality in front of an audience. Overall, the whole season is one big preparation for nationals.”

The team will perform two different routines at the national tournament, one in hip-hop style and one in jazz. The NDA Nationals will take place April 6-10 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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