Backstage With the 2016 Urbana Dance Company

Taylor Robertshaw

The 2015-2016 Urbana Dance Company at morning practice.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Weigelt
The 2015-2016 Urbana Dance Company at morning practice.

It is 6:15 in the morning, where are you? In bed? Well two days out of the week the students of the Urbana Dance Company are already at school, ready for practice. These hard working artists allow an inside look of what it would be like to be a member of the UHS team.

The majority of the dance team has some sort of experience and history with dance like sophomore Maddie Reefe who has been dancing for 10 years, senior Christine Haggerty for 5 years, or like Freshman Lesley Leatherman who has been dancing since she was 2 years old. All of the girls come from different dance styles, coaching types, and years of experience, but they come together in a melting pot of art to form the famous Urbana Dance Company.

On a normal practice day, the girls come in before school. “We all have our coffee,” Lesley Leatherman said.

“[We] usually talk for a few minutes to set a game plan [for the practice],” senior Anne Leatherman said.

Once they are talked out the dancers proceed to stretch and warm-up. They focus on “cleaning [perfecting a routine], learning new choreography, or just rehearsing [the dances they already know],” Anne Leatherman said.

Along with these practices the UHS team performs in every school held dance recital and competes in the state competition.

There are many fond memories that come from being a part of the high school dance team. Most agree that being a part of Mr. Urbana is one of the major highlights of their year. This year’s pageant was organized by seniors Anne Leatherman, Nicole Navarro, and Christine Haggerty.

“Mr. Urbana is always the best, but especially being able to chair the event this year,” Anne Leatherman said. As a leader of this project the girls were responsible for choreographing the opening number, sending out notifications to all of the participants, making shirts and deciding the dress code for the opening number, and running practices leading up to the performance.

Some of the senior dancers have advice they want to give to the under-classmen or dancers continuing on the team after they leave. “6:15 is not as early as it seems, you will get used to it. It is worth it because you meet new people and make new friends.” Haggerty said.

“Make sure you always set the alarm for 5 [a.m.] on Tuesdays and Thursdays and remember to bring your change of clothes.” Anne Leatherman said.