Dance Team Members Love What They Do, Want to Grow in Numbers


Gabriela Gallardo, Emma Zankoul, Staff Writers, Journalism I

“When I went, I realized it was exactly what I wanted to do. In the team, you feel like you’re a part of something and that you belong there. It’s great,” said freshman Evie Tadych, a member of NDA’s passionate dance team.

The team is made up of seven students. Junior Brooke Tuszka and sophomore Madeline Hilts are the team captains, and their new coach is Miranda Roehl. 

The team had the opportunity to interview several coaches before deciding which one would be the best fit. They chose Roehl, an ISA employee from Milwaukee.

“She was very qualified. She’s very young, and she had a lot of successful teams in her name, so we thought that she could bring that success to our team,” said Hilts.

Hilts comes from a studio dance background. There, she met Tadych and freshman Cami Pakkala and convinced them to join the team.

“I’ve been dancing since I was in 6th grade,” said Tadych. “I danced at the studio where Maddie used to dance, so I’ve known her for a while. I shadowed her, and she convinced me to get involved.”

“I’ve been dancing since I was three years old,” said Pakkala, who also shadowed Hilts last year. 

“Dancing is so different from anything else,” said sophomore Lidiya Schneider. “I think all of us would say we love it.” 

The team practices almost all year round. They participate in six to eight competitions per year and cheer at games such as soccer, football, and basketball. 

When they have competitions, they practice every day.

“Our dance team is the least appreciated yet the most hardworking team at the school,” said Carolyn Brown, an English teacher at NDA. 

Aside from all of their practice, they each also pay for all of their costumes and travel expenses. “It can be a lot more expensive than any other sport,” said Schneider. 

One of the team’s goals is to grow. “With a bigger team we can have a bigger variety of dances, and it would help us win more competitions,” said Hilts.

“We’re a really small group, but we can still do a lot of amazing things,” said Tadych.

–Gabriela Gallardo


“Our dance team is the least appreciated group, but they work harder than anyone else,” said Carolyn Brown, an English teacher at NDA.

Notre Dame’s dance team is composed of seven people who practice almost all year round, and the captains are sophomore Maddie Hilts and junior Brooke Tuszka. 

“We’re a really small group,” said Evie Tadych, a freshman on the team, “but we can still do a lot of amazing things.”

Tadych started dancing in fifth grade at a dance studio, and there she met Maddie Hilts who convinced her to come here.

Another freshman on the team is Cami Pakkala, who started dancing at a very young age and shadowed Hilts in eighth grade too.

The members of the team have joined for multiple reasons. Lidiya Shneider, sophomore, and Evie, said they are “not good at any other sport.” On the other hand Hilts likes “the enjoyment I get from performing and being in the community.”

Although dance is a fun sport, it takes a lot of practice. They practice three to four days a week, and if there are nationals they practice every single day. 

Their coach is Miranda Roehl who works at Impact Sports Academy and has a lot of dance experience. In fact, the team itself got to participate in the interviewing process for a coach.

“She was young, very qualified and had a lot of success in her previous teams,” said Hilts, “so we thought she could bring that success to our team.”

One goal the dance team has is to expand. “With a bigger team we can have more variety of dances, and that would help us win more competitions,” said Hilts.

But despite the team’s being small and not getting acknowledged a lot, the members are very dedicated to it. “I feel I’m part of a family, and it’s really fun,” said Schneider. 

They are also very busy. On top of cheering at all the football games, basketball games, and some soccer games, they have six  competitions a year. They might have seven if they go to State, and eight if they go to Nationals.

In order to keep up with everything, the dancers have learned to manage their time. “I always work during study hall and try to get one hour of homework done before practice,” said Pakkala. On the other hand, Schneider is “a big fan of cramming.”

Hilts said that it gets better with time as they get more used to the schedule. “I get most of it done at night because I’m busy during the day,” said Hilts. “But, the busiest it gets is when we are close to nationals.”

The dance team goes to nationals every other year to compete with many new teams all across the country. “It’s more of an experience and learning a new variety of dances than a strict competition,” said Hilts.

Both small and big teams are in the competition, as well as multiple genre dances. Last year, Notre Dame won the competition in pomp. 

To choose what dances they will perform, the dancers fill out a form and suggest ideas, and  then the choreographer makes the decision based on that. 

“I like jazz because it’s like studio dance,” said Hilts. But Tadych enjoys pom more because it “has a lot of energy.”

The girls practice dances in both genres and have one choreographer for each one. When the dance gets complicated, the dancers can even instruct each other on stage.

“The audience can’t hear, so when someone is not on beat we yell a number so they know what to do,” said Hilts. She said it is based on counts, and choreographies become muscle memories.

Despite some hardships with being on the team, like all the practice hours and cost, team members all agree it is worth it. 

–Emma Zankoul