Ely dancers excel at camp

DANCERS - Madelene Johnson, Lauren Porthan, McCartney Kaercher, Savannah Johnson and Katie Lakner.

On the morning of July 9, Ely High School Dance Team members McCartney Kaercher, Madelene Johnson, Savannah Johnson, Katie Lakner, and Lauren Porthan left town with Coach Amanda Vanderbeek to attend Just for Kix Camp in Brainerd.
They were excited about what knowledge they would gain while at camp, with some of them hoping to strengthen skills in hip hop, others in jazz, and others wanting to get better with the basics of kick and turn technique.
Upon arriving in Brainerd, the girls went to Forestview Middle School, where they were joined by over 20 other schools from around the Twin Cities metro and beyond.
Each team was given a daily schedule consisting of warm-up, three dance “hours” (each hour was spent working on a particular routine of their choosing with a camp staff member), three meal times in the cafeteria, and an evening event that varied from day to day.
The coaches were given a separate schedule, consisting of four coaching sessions per day and meal times with their team.
As the days progressed, the girls worked to master their routines for their selected styles. A couple girls chose to learn a lyrical dance, others field jazz, but all had opted to take a hip hop class together, which is one of the most popular dance styles offered at Just For Kix.
Ely’s dancers met many other dancers during this class from other schools, whom they grew very close with during the experience., developing camaraderie.
They worked hard to boost each other up, offering advice on how to execute moves and providing words of encouragement as they experimented with strange new movements.
On the fourth and final day, the dancers were able to perform in the final Camp Show, where parents and family members were invited to attend and watch the girls dance. The show itself took about two hours and contained roughly 32 routines that were offered during each hour at camp.
At the end of the show, there was an award ceremony for outstanding dancers to be recognized. The camp gives out Rising Star awards (for dancers who demonstrate promise in their future dancing), as well as Firecracker awards (for dancers who are positive, energetic, and put out 100% on the floor.
Of over 300 dancers that attended camp, junior Madelene Johnson stood out with her great attitude and eagerness to learn, earning her a Firecracker award.
This experience was made possible by a Gardner Trust Grant, which not only provided scholarships to the individual dancers from Ely who attended, but also a scholarship to Coach Vanderbeek to accompany the team.
The Trust has been an instrumental supporter in the success of the Ely Dance Team and has helped fund the team on numerous occasions in the past, including grants for costumes, equipment, and scholarships for clinic performances.
The Ely High School Dance Team and the High Kick Club would like to thank the Trust for their continued support and can’t wait to begin performing for the 2017-2018 year. Catch them at the first Ely varsity home football game this fall, set for Aug. 31.