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Squad steps back into action

By Dan Agarkov
Published: November 2009

Step Squad, led by adviser and coach Melissa Block and junior and captain Chaela Jones, will make a return to South this year, following last year’s cancellation of the club.

Block and Jones are hopeful that the squad will be smaller and more committed this year.

“[Last year] we didn’t have the commitment that we needed, and I take this very seriously as a coach, Block said, noting how the lack of commitment from members made it impossible to accomplish the squad’s goals.

According to Block, a large number of last year’s members had never participated in step before.“Nobody really had an awareness [of what being on Step Squad entailed], she said.

Last year’s squad had four captains including Jones, three of whom were seniors. According to Jones, part of the reason that Step Squad was cancelled was because of the seniors’ scheduling conflicts. Last year’s squad never performed at any events.

Jones, who teaches dance after school, will be taking on the task of reviving the step squad as the sole captain.“I’m the only captain this year, and I’m definitely making that commitment to come [to every practice], she said. “We need to prove [to the administration] that we can actually do it.

Both Block and Jones agree that this year, the administration has been supportive but has not done enough to provide practice space.

“I have to be creative, Block said, explaining that without a viable practice location, the club might be forced to hold practices in a classroom.

Block added that the lack of a practice area “makes the kids feel like they are unappreciated.

This problem was apparent last year mainly because the school did not recognize step as a sport.

Practice concerns aside, Block and Jones plan for Step Squad to make appearances at South basketball games and Tertulia in the spring.

“We’ll try to keep it fun and real and get the crowd excited, Block said.

Jones will be responsible for most of the choreographing of the squad’s routines.

A possible new feature of Step Squad this year is the division of the group into two parts: an A squad and a B squad. This system, suggested by Principal Joel Stembridge, resembles the Varsity/Junior Varsity sports system and would provide two levels of participation in Step.

Those who have experience with step and are ready to commit to attending all the practices would be on the A squad. Students who want to learn step in a less intensive atmosphere would participate on the B squad.

Although the lack of a second adviser is a major challenge of forming two squads, Stembridge is working to find a co-adviser, Block said.

Many students are eager for the Squad’s return, especially those who remember a performance by the Squad two years ago, which involved both step and break-dancing.

“I’m excited to see them again because they are really entertaining and talented, junior Danny Connolly said.

Jones mentioned that in addition to full uniforms, she wants every member of the team to have matching pairs of sneakers for performances.

“We’re going all out this year, she said.

An informational session and tryouts will be held on December 2.

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