The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

Dance your heart out: Sixth graders create middle school dance team two weeks into the school year

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Abby Cabrera (6), Terriona Brown (6), Naomi Davis (6) and Ellie Geeslin (7) practice their dance routine for Sia’s Chandelier. “We started a dance team simply because we wanted to do something fun, because we wanted somewhere to get confident and brave,” co-founder of dance team, Talia Washington said, during her student council election speech.

Two sixth graders started a sixth grade dance team that has grown to include all of middle school, two weeks into their first year at Ann Richards.

“There’s not a 6th grade dance team, we thought it was for the whole school, but it turned out to be only for high schoolers,” co-founder of dance team and sixth grader Terriona Brown said. “We we’re like ‘Hey we want to dance too’, so we just made our own dance team.”

The idea of the dance team came from sixth grader, Talia Washington. Washington expressed her desire for a dance team to her friends and peers, convincing them to want to join.

“[The dance team] started out as an if-y thing, we weren’t sure if we were gonna be able to pull it off,” sixth grader and member of the dance team, Naomi Davis said. ”But then when we put up a sign and people started to sign up, we were like, ‘this is gonna work.’”

Washington and Brown recruited fourteen girls for their dance team before taking the matter to  principal, Jeanne Goka. In response, Goka said they could have their club as long as they found a sponsor.

“We had to go around and ask for a sponsor, because we already had like fourteen girls that wanted to join,” Washington said. “We didn’t have one at that point so we had to go find a sponsor and finally Mr. Ortmann said yes.”

The dance team meets on Fridays in the dance room. Four girls attended the first meeting, led by Washington, Brown and Ortmann. The following week, Washington and Brown opened the dance team up to all of middle school.

“It’s going really well, and right now we have twelve girls and that’s all we’re gonna take for now, and we all know half of the dance to Chandelier,” Washington said. “Some just barely came last Friday and already know half.”

Brown is eager to show off the dance team to the school. Every Friday, middle school assembly opens with a Fine Art performance from students, ranging anywhere from a singing ensemble, an instrument ensemble, or a dance routine.

“When we get this song together we are going to perform it at Fine Arts Friday assembly,” Brown said. “We’re going to schedule it once everything is settled and everybody knows the choreography.”

However, Washington has already planned ahead for after the dance team performs for Fine Arts Fridays.

“We’re going to start off with Fine Arts Friday, but me and Mr. Ortmann and Terriona are going to have a fundraiser to buy dance team uniforms and do a couple of more performances,” Washington said.

Washington said she told the dance team she sees them performing at the big stage in the Winedale Theatre Barn in Roundtop, Texas.

“I went to Winedale last year, a big stage where people go to perform, and watched this whole entire performance of dancing and I was thinking maybe we could get there one day.”

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