The dim lights of the gymnasium blared against the formation of the school’s dance team. The crowd was intent on watching every move they made while the cheers of encouragement and excitement removed any nerves and anxiety within the performers.
“It’s nerve wracking being up there,” Junior Lela Mamrosh said. “But when you see everyone rooting for you, it’s easy to forget that you were ever nervous to begin with.” And with that courage, they are able to dance as a well-functioned team. Each eight count flows one after the other in a manner that has been practiced both in and out of class more times than one could count.
With the exchange of subtle glances, the hi-steppers of Dripping Springs High School are able to put on performances at pep-rallies which are aimed at bringing out the Tiger Spirit in each student and community member.
The hi-steppers are instructed by dance teacher Tracy Neef and assistant director Desiree Marshall. The team consists of girls of all grades and is led by Senior Captain Marilyn Quevedo. All of the team members share not only a passion for dancing, but a bond of sisterhood that is felt throughout the team.
“Being on hi-steppers has definitely helped me to meet a lot of people,” Junior Ellie Kuykendall said. “I made a lot of friends my freshman year, when I didn’t know anybody, and I’ve been able to meet several freshman who I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten the chance to become friends with. We’re like our own little family.”
Along with the relationships, the girls say the team is truly encouraging and supportive. Many of the dancers have a background in dance that dates back to their childhoods. This proves the notion that practice can only make an individual better.
“Practice makes perfect, that’s a given,” Mamrosh said. “We all practice outside of class for endless hours, but we also practice in class which is accompanied with a near daily after school practice. “
This dedication and hard work, which Coach Neef instills in all the girls, has paid off for the hi-steppers this year while they have focused on bettering all their performances. Neef assigns all the music and guides the dancers through their routines which enables the team to perform only what they can be very proud of.
“I’ve definitely improved a considerable amount since my first performance,” Kuykendall said. “I’ve learned more techniques and how to dance with a team, opposed to just individually.”
Both Mamrosh and Kuykendall accredit their development and new skills to Coach Neef and all the constructive criticism of their leaders, like Captain Quevedo. In addition to being able to perform for an audience, high steppers receive many other benefits that come with being on the team.
“It gets you to stay active,” Mamrosh said. “I find that it also stops you from making bad health choices. When you’re doing something all the time, like dancing, you want to make sure you’re able to do everything to your full abilities and you can’t do that if you’re constantly sick and exhausted.”
The hi-steppers relay that out of everything they could have done, they chose to be on the dance team because it was something they feel joy doing. The girls hope to continue hyping up the school body about their performances and they can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them.