Marquesas’ drive for dance takes over

Marquesas drive for dance takes over

Mansi Pathak

Marquesas on team sacrifice other activities to make time for long hours of practice.

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Sophomore Lauren Lee prepares for the long practice ahead on Oct. 17. Photo by Jaime Chu.

Ten hours a week. Forty minutes of Pilates. Two hundred forty seconds of planks. Leaps across the floor, toes pointed, arms poised. Though you may only see their three minute routines at rallies and football games, the Marquesas put in countless hours perfecting their routines.

Like many of the dance team girls, senior Christine Yee says she devotes her life solely to school and dance. She began dancing at age three and used to put in 12 hours a week at Dance Academy USA. After joining dance team, however, she can barely manage the occasional dance class at Studio 10 in San Jose.

As a freshman, Yee was only part of three routines, so practices were less time consuming and Yee had time to participate in some of her other favorite activities. Now, with many more routines and a busy senior year, Yee definitely has her hands full.

"[As captain] there is so much to do behind the scenes," Yee said. "My [senior] year is basically taken up by dance practice and then coming home to study."

An average week as a Marquesa includes between one and two hours of dance practice every day Monday through Thursday. During busier times, like competition season, weekday practices increase to almost 16 hours a week and five to six hours of weekend rehearsal. Apart from practice, the girls are expected to review their routines, stretch, and improve their technique twice a day at home.

The long hours devoted to dance team practice often make it difficult to schedule other plans, both socially and academically. Many of the Marquesas have had to put their extra curricular activities on hold for dance team.

Sophomore Kelly Woodruff faced the difficult decision as a freshman, deciding between competitive ice skating, which she had been doing for three years, or dance team. For a few months, Woodruff attempted to do both: morning ice skating classes in Redwood City and after school dance team practice. However, she was overworked and tired and decided to quit ice skating lessons. When Woodruff was elected secretary for Class of 2011, the time constraint caused her to give up her studio dance classes at East West Music and Dance, as well as slow down her piano lessons.

"I thought dance team would be more fun than ice skating, which it is. You get to make great friends and the competitions are so much less stressful as a team," Woodruff said. "I feel like I made the right decision."

For sophomore Lauren Lee, juggling MVHS dance team and dance classes at East West Music and Dance has been strenuous, as the activities have collided many times. Last August, the dance team traveled to Santa Cruz for a mandatory dance boot camp. However, the previous week Lee's studio was taking a trip to New York.

"The last day [in New York] overlapped with the dance team camp. I caught an early plane at 7 a.m. The Santa Cruz camp started that day around 1 p.m.," Lee said. "I was extremely jet-lagged."

However, even the long tiring hours don't faze the Marquesas– they willingly make these sacrifices every day.

"Dance team practice is a great release from stress," junior Jackie Schadle said. "It is my time to forget about everything outside of the dance room."