By J1 Reporter Elissa Eisele
Dance has been one of the longest standing traditions of athletic activity at Marian, before sports were at Marian they did not have many options for girls and dance teams provided an outlet for them to lead a healthy athletic life. Obviously the activity has evolved a lot since that time, and the program continues to grow and evolve today.
Picture it: the lights once previously dark are starting to cascade across the floors and the walls of the ESPN worldwide sports complex. You hear the roar of the crowd turn into a hush. Complete adrenaline is rushing through your body, and you can feel your heart beating in your feet. Before you have time to second guess yourself, the music starts and muscle memory takes control over you. The beats pass by and the movements flow, it is a routine you’ve practiced thousands of times. To you it is second nature. The beat stops, and you take a moment to catch your breath, and process the experience you just had.
You don’t know it at the time but you have just won fourteenth place at a national competition for high school dance teams. It is an unrivaled feeling, and an even cooler experience to go through. This was Kaelynn Eisele’s experience her sophomore year of high school back in 2018.
Current junior Tyler Raiker, on the other hand, did not have this same exhilarating experience. Her first year at nationals they were not lucky enough to place. Leading many girls previously on the team to wonder why? Could there really be that much of a difference? According to Eisele, yes there is. Her time on the dance team in 2017 and 2018 was a lot different. She was one of two underclassmen on her team and remembers how much “pressure I was under to push myself to better the team” in order to make the team and the upperclassmen proud. This drive was what eventually led them to placing at nationals. Along with that, most of the girls on the team at the time did not only participate in high school dance, but also in a club program allowing them to “bond more, and have more flow within high school dance.”
These were things that Raiker’s dance team did not experience, where only four of the girls were involved with the club, making it a little harder to get a good flow going. They also practiced significantly less than Eisele did when she was on the team.
“We practice three times a week right now in preparation for nationals,” Raiker said. Eisele remembers practicing five times a week or more.