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The student news site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

The student news site of Orono High School

The Spartan Speaks

Orono Fall Dance Team Shines On The Field This Past Season

The+Orono+Fall+Dance+Team+poses+for+a+quick+photo+before+heading+out+onto+the+field+for+their+first+performance+of+the+season.
Tara St. Martin
The Orono Fall Dance Team poses for a quick photo before heading out onto the field for their first performance of the season.

The past few months for the Orono Fall Dance Team have been nothing short of jam-packed, filled with practices, performances, and community-based events. The team celebrates accomplishing goals they had set, both big and small, at the beginning of the season, as well as promoting a fun and positive team culture through it all.

The OFDT, run by Orono Community Education, kicked off on August 14. During the first few weeks of the season, dancers were taught choreography created by the captains. This year’s fall captains were seniors Sophia Rapp and Adele Strommen, and juniors Sullivan Neubauer, Katie Mahoney, and Skye Schelle.

“It’s pretty straightforward. We just teach [the choreography] in chunks, and then we’ll distribute it amongst the captains,” Rapp said.

This year, the captains choreographed a routine to a remix featuring many of Fergie’s greatest hits, including “Meet Me Halfway” and “Imma Be”. When deciding what to put in this year’s routine, they relied on the beat of the music and their knowledge of the teams’ strengths to develop choreography.

“We knew we wanted it to be fun for our first performance, so we decided on a Fergie mix, and we knew we wanted to have a lot of skills in this one, so we incorporated a lot of technique,” Strommen said.

The Fall Team not only prepared one routine this year but a second one later on in the season. Strommen reports that after the team went to the Blaine Fall Show and saw all of the hip-hop routines, the captains decided they wanted to pull out one themselves.

In order to perfect such intricate routines, practices had to be equal parts productive and engaging. In addition to rehearsing the routines, head coach Tara St. Martin made it a priority to implement fun group activities and technique work into the practice schedule as well.

“We don’t meet as frequently as you guys do in the winter, so while we are together, we make practices fun but also get work done. In that process, it’s also important to have a consistent schedule of team bonding and skills mixed in there,” head coach Tara St. Martin said.

The team performed during halftime at home football games on September 8, September 22, and October 6.
While dancing in front of the student body is nerve-wracking, the routine flashes by in what feels like a matter of seconds when the music turns on and adrenaline is high. Dancers take in the energy that radiates from the crowd.

“You feel the energy of everyone in the stands, and even though they seem really far away when you’re on the field, it’s still a much bigger crowd than in a gym,” Strommen said.

In addition to football games, the team participates in various community-based events during the fall season as well, such as the Youth Clinic and Homecoming week.

A favorite activity among the team during Homecoming week is the guy/girl dance, where dancers are paired with members of the football team and taught a short routine that is showcased at the Homecoming pepfest. While the football players are heavy on their feet and generally ungraceful, their partners help to guide them in the right direction.

“The guy/girl dance, by far, is my favorite, because the football players don’t know what they’re doing, but all of them are trying hard. It’s funny because of how uncoordinated they are,” senior member Hattie Etzel said.

When it comes to setting and achieving goals, a positive team culture is necessary. Since the first day of practice, the captains were committed to leading their team and showing what it means to be a Spartan through their dedication and drive to improve at every practice.

“This team has created a culture of working hard and has set high expectations for themselves. The routines were well-choreographed and entertaining to watch,” St. Martin said.

While this season has been memorable for every dancer on the team, the six seniors reflect on it with bittersweet sentiments. Looking back on the memories made while performing at Pesonen all these years brings about sadness and pride. Seniors will miss the laid-back nature of the fall season and the good times they have shared but are proud to have been a part of this organization.

“I’ll miss performing at football games and the fun times at practice,” Rapp said.

While the fall season has passed us by, the team is ready to take on a more intense practice regimen. As they transition into the winter season, they are determined to set new goals and work hard to accomplish them. ODT will be revealing their Varsity Kick and Jazz routines for the first time this year at the Metro West Conference meet on Tuesday, November 28 at Chaska High School.

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About the Contributor
Lily Munsch, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Lily Munsch, and this is my first year writing for the Spartan Speaks. I am on the Orono Dance Team, and in my free time I enjoy going out on the lake and hanging out with friends. I am excited to report on events happening around OHS this year!

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