Dancing queens: Team performs at Kabbalat Shabbat
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Chatter and giggles immediately cease as sophomore and dance team captain Dana Fishkin turns on the routine music and all 10 bodies begin to synchronously glide across the cafeteria floor.
Unlike other sports teams at CESJDS, the dance team has no form of competition. The team consists of 10 members who meet in the cafeteria for practice on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays after school.
As captain, Fishkin is in charge of choreographing the majority of the team’s dances and picking the music for the routine. The team most recently performed at Kabbalat Shabbat on Jan. 6, where they danced to the songs: “Juju On That Beat” by Zayion McCall and Zay Hilfigerrr, “Cold Water” by Justin Bieber, “Into You” by Ariana Grande, “Girls Like” by Tinie Tempah and “Catch Me” by Yellow Claw and Flux Pavilion, all chosen by Fishkin.
In addition to these responsibilities, Fishkin has to make sure to accommodate the wide variety of skill levels the dancers possess, something that can be challenging. However, Fishkin’s love for the team makes up for the stress that comes with it.
“It’s a really good way to make friends in different grades and we all have a mutual passion for dance and I think that’s what keeps the team together,” Fishkin said.
Invitational dance competitions are on Saturdays, which prevents dance team from competing. For some of the dancers, this is disappointing but there are opportunities to perform at Kabbalat Shabbat and basketball games during half-time.
“I love it when [the dance team] come for half time of our basketball games,” Athletic Director Mike Reily said. “It kind of adds some excitement to our games.”
Head varsity dance coach Claire Zagami has been coaching the team for four years, and has always been happy with the group of girls on the team.
“They’re all really self-motivated and just come to practice wanting to learn and to do well,” Zagami said.
While the team is mainly comprised of high school girls, eighth-grader Tess Mendelson doesn’t feel uncomfortable as the only middle-schooler.
“Everyone is so welcoming and we just have a good time,” Mendelson said.
Members on the team arrive to practice early to help one another learn choreography or perfect a certain skill. Assistance is given before it is even asked for, and not just from the captain, but from other teammates regardless of their grade.
“It’s really cool when girls find their passion, how serious they really are about it and despite us being so small and not being that well known in the school,” Zagami said. “Their passion is just honestly really impressive. It’s what keeps me here,”