Out of the many sports that Iowa Central has to offer, the dance team is one example of a team that continually makes progress throughout the years. Recently, our team has seen great success at both the state competition as well as nationals. At state, the girls placed first in all the events that they competed in, gathering honors from pom, jazz, and hip hop in the community college division. Nationals was a similar feat, with our team returning from Daytona with a third place title for the second year in a row. The girls competed in the team performance category, which is an event aimed to find a well-rounded dancer. In one routine with a time limit of 2 minutes and 15 seconds, elements of pom, jazz, and hip hop skills and choreography must be included.
Coach Lesa Dencklau discussed some of the season’s highlights. “A really memorable moment was getting the clean sweep at state. For the past three years prior, we’d won the other divisions but gotten 2nd in hip hop. Our main goal was to bring that title back home. When we did it was a really cool experience, knowing that your hard work and efforts paid off.” She explained that the hip hop routine performed at state was choreographed by Holly Reimer, an Iowa native who dances for the L.A. Clippers. Both coaches Lesa Dencklau and Cassidy Vermeer choreographed the two other state routines. The choreography for nationals was done by Cheryl Passalacqua, a former Ladybird dancer. Dencklau reflected on Curtain Call as well, the performance that the dance team hosts at Iowa Central for all audiences. “I think that Curtain Call was really special this year. It always is; it’s really great. I don’t think the girls understand what an incredible experience it is until they live it. We get to talk about our graduates. They hear for the first time how we feel about them as dancers. They get to show off all that they’ve learned in their time here.”
Another topic Dencklau spoke about was the process of selecting the dancers for nationals as well as the girls’ improvement over the season. “I feel like the team is completely different. We actually started in late July last year with camp. They’ve grown a ton, just technically and how they bond and get along with each other. I’ve seen a lot of growth over the several months we’ve been together.” She also explained that for nationals, all of the dancers must rehearse the routines together for some time before their spots are confirmed. Not every dancer gets to compete at nationals, and she shared how each dancer was determined to work for their spot. “They bust their butts and they kept fighting to the end. We didn’t make the actual announcements of who was going to be on the floor at Daytona until three or four days before the event. They fought for their spots and stood by each other no matter what the outcome was.”
Finally, Dencklau reflected on the future for Iowa Central’s dance team. “There are seven graduates on the team. Some of them are continuing on here at Iowa Central in different programs, but technically we have seven graduates. I’m not sure if some will be able to continue with the team or not.” She also discussed some of the new dancers that may be joining the team next season. “At Curtain Call, we had a record number of guest teams attend, which is awesome for recruitment.” Dencklau is taking a job as the head coach at Missouri Valley College next year, and Cassidy Vermeer is going to be fulfilling the role as head coach in upcoming seasons. Vermeer explained, “We haven’t had auditions yet, but recruitment has been going really well this year. I’m excited or having a larger group of girls for a larger game day presence. I’ve gained a lot technical studio dancers coming with a lot of background and training.” After the success of this season, it seems that the Iowa Central dance team will continue to see success in the upcoming years.
Photo courtesy to Paul DeCoursey