Tonka dance brings home accolades

Jocelin Egeland, Writer

The Griffinettes received several important awards this summer at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) Summer Dance Camp. Four dancers were also selected as UDA All American Dancers.

Senior Danielle Swinney, junior Gracie Taylor, junior Jessica Gebauer and junior Mya Riley all accomplished the UDA All American Dancers. Performers believe support and dedication is a requirement to become an All American.

“At camp we learned three other routines and then to add another routine to that was stressful and was really hard not to go insane due to the lack of sleep, but my teammates and coach were great support to help me stay positive and make sure I memorized the routine perfectly,” said Jessica Gebauer.

For dancers with years of experience getting on stage can be nerve wracking.

“This was my third year being an All American so I was a little more comfortable performing, but it can still be frightening to dance in front of the whole camp knowing they are judging you,” said Gebauer.

The team won a superior trophy, the spirit stick, first place in the small varsity category for the second year in a row and for the first time in Winnetonka history a bid to nationals.

For new varsity dancer Amanda Hass winning first for the second year was the most rewarding.

“It shows how well the team works together and how the JV dancers from last year can step up and carry on this new tradition,” said Hass.

Experienced dancers urge new dancers to be open minded and ready to dance.

Dance opens new doors for many dancers.

“It [dance] helped me come out of my shell and helped me make new friends I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t joined the team,” said Hass.

“Just go on the floor and give it all you’ve got and allow yourself to have fun! Don’t think too much about it, everyone is there to support you and see you dance your heart out,” said Gebauer.