Dance Team Wins Competitions, Builds Character


Madison Polack, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame’s Dance Team (NDDT) does not get the recognition that they deserve. NDDT’s squad is made up of 18 girls who lean on one another to get better. For most of the girls, it is their second family.

The team works countless hours each day to improve. They practice either 5-6 days a week for two and a half hours. Also, they have a longer season than any other sport at NDA. Their season finishes at the end of March, and then tryouts begin again in May. They only have one month off until a new season starts again.

The team captains this year include senior Ari Kussow, senior Maddie VanSaders, senior Jorey Jossart, and junior Hope Gourley. The captains on the team are role models who push all of the girls to be their very best.

Senior captain Maddie VanSaders said, “The best thing about being one of the captains of the dance team is seeing the progress that the team makes throughout the course of the year, not only as dancers, but as people.”

“Each year that I have been on the team, I can honestly say I have learned valuable lessons from the previous captains. My job as a captain and as a teammate is to try to teach the girls certain lessons, so they do not make the same mistakes I made,” she explained.

VanSaders’ responsibility now is to be a role model to the underclassmen just like previous upperclassmen were to her. Her goal is to leave the team knowing that she did her very best so that the girls can be successful in the future.


Their coaches, Sara Konop and Laura Reiner, also work with the captains to lead the team to success.

In fact, the team has recently had much success in their competitions. At Kaukauna High School on January 16, they placed first in division 2 jazz and division 3 pom. This was their biggest competition of the season besides State. Previously in the season they placed first in pom at Watertown and first in pom and jazz at Freedom.

Sophomore Kate Sullivan said, “I truly love our team and love the friendships I’ve formed. We have great coaches and captains.”

“Everyone has each other’s backs, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season holds,” Sullivan added.

“I could go on for days about this team,” sophomore Tori Gantz said. “I learn so much from this team and have opportunities to grow not just as a dancer but as a person overall.”

Gantz added, “I get to experience new aspects of the thing that I love, dance. I get to live through the moment, experience both failures and successes, and be surrounded with people who know and understand who I am.”