The varsity dance team performs during the Liberty v. Keokuk varsity basketball game on Dec. 3, 2019. (Hayley Allen)
The varsity dance team performs during the Liberty v. Keokuk varsity basketball game on Dec. 3, 2019.

Hayley Allen

The Positivity Liberty Dance Team Brings

While there is a negative aura surrounding dance, The Live Wire touches on the positive effects it has.

February 6, 2020

Dance gives people numerous opportunities and teaches them valuable life skills, and Liberty dance team is no different.  Although studies have come out showing dancers, specifically ballet dancers, are more prone to eating disorders, Liberty’s dance studio is a positive room according to the coaches and dancers. 

Katie Melloy and Madison Moore, two of the three coaches, gave their opinion on how dance can mentally affect the dancers and the study on eating disorders and dance.

“I think that’s with any sport really, and I see it with my kids even with their sports, and they’re nine and seven. Eating disorders are kind of a problem all encompassing, so I don’t think it is specifically dance,” said Melloy. 

It’s hard being in the mirror everyday with people around you and not looking the same as them, so I think that can cause a lot of issues mentally of ‘oh I don’t look like her, but how do I get there?”

— Madison Moore, dance coach

“Dance is so biased, and a lot of it is based off of appearance and how you look and how you’re portrayed by a judge. It’s not based off of stats like other sports are,” added Moore. “It’s hard being in the mirror everyday with people around you and not looking the same as them, so I think that can cause a lot of issues mentally of ‘oh I don’t look like her, but how do I get there?’” 

 Melloy and Moore, along with third dance coach Rylee Villhauer, provide a healthy environment for their dancers to learn, grow, and separate themselves from the negative aura surrounding dance.

“You’ll have some problems come up because we’re all human beings and we’re all gonna make mistakes, but overall, really the only thing that gets us down is fatigue,” Melloy said.

Dance gives girls many opportunities to learn life lessons and come together as a family, like any other sport. It also acts as an escape or distraction from school and life in general. Melloy, Vernon, and Villhauer, are giving their girls plenty of opportunities to set firsts at Liberty and bring home trophies.. They recently became the only team at Liberty to bring home a first place state trophy for their pom routine and recently got first in regionals for both their jazz and pom routine, but the coaches make sure everything isn’t about winning. 

“The result of winning is because it’s a healthy room. We don’t focus on the first place trophy; it’s a focus of how good can the girls get, and if that’s third, they’re proud of that. They’ve just been so successful because they work so well together,” Melloy shared. 

“We’ve all been on different types of teams, ones where there’s negativity and ones where there’s not, and I feel like this year’s just different because there’s so much positivity. If there is a girl that’s having a bad day, they (the dancers) all bring her out of that,” added Moore.

Maddie Rule, freshman dancer on junior varsity, shared her experiences with school dance so far. 

“Every mistake makes you want to try harder and be a better dancer, ” said Rule. “I think it’s all a big mental thing; you won’t be able to do it until you believe you can.”

Rule also says that school dance is more personal than studio dance, and having a closer relationship with her coaches is more helpful.  

“They (the coaches) really push you to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to, and they are very supportive. I think having a strong relationship with the coaches helps me because they know my strengths and weaknesses and know how to help me be my best. The school coaches only have one group they teach at school and you become closer to them, as opposed to the studio dance teachers, who have many different classes a week and a lot of students,” said Rule. 

“School dance is very different from what studio dance can be because these girls all want it for each other, whereas studio is more of classes, unless you’re on a competition team,” said Moore. 

Laney Prelle
Natalie Cargin performing during halftime of the FTK football game.

Dancing also positively affects emotions and physical health. When people exercise, their body releases endorphins, which is a chemical our brain releases that gives them a natural sense of euphoria and happiness. Along with the adrenaline rush you get from the loud music and overall just having fun, dance makes your well-being better for a while at least, and it also gives you a chance to express yourself freely as well. Dance has been proven to help improve the condition of your heart and lungs, increase your muscular strength, Increase bone strength, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as well, according to Better Health. Natalie Cargin, senior on dance team, talks about how dance improves her life. 

“Dance improves my mood because it allows me to let go of whatever is going on outside of practice and express myself. It also gives me something to look forward to. Even when I’m having a bad day I know that after school I get to see my thirteen best friends who always cheer me up.” said Cargin. 

 

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