Maylee Ohlman has found a home on the varsity dance team


High school is usually the time when one figures out who they truly are. It’s a time when someone breaks out of their shell and realizes their identity. This is especially true for freshman Maylee Ohlman.

After some encouragement from her friends, Maylee tried out for the varsity dance team this summer and made it, despite having no prior experience dancing competitively.

“[It was] very shocking,” Maylee said. “A lot of the seniors came up and hugged me. It was kind of surreal because I came in with absolutely no expectations at all. It’s been pretty nice.”

The trade Maylee gets from enjoying her time on the team turns out to be the fact that this has turned into the busiest day and most extended schedule of her life.

“Usually on the dance team, we have two to three practices a week,” Maylee said. “Sometimes, on Thursdays, we have a morning practice at six A.M. and then I have gymnastics for three hours.”

The dance team has national competitions upcoming, something that can’t be taken lightly, but is also very exciting, especially for freshmen like Maylee.

“It’s very nerve-wracking,” Maylee said. “It puts into perspective how big it is. I never thought I’d have the bravery to ever perform. I’m very excited, but also very nervous. I’m a rookie, and the only person completely new to this experience, so I’m not solidified on all of our dances.”

Despite being a rookie on the dance team, Maylee has already discovered how much she truly enjoys the team environment. Being a rookie—of course—means learning from the veterans of the group.

“I feel like without the upperclassmen, I’d be clueless,” Maylee said. “They created a couple of group chats to help the freshman settle on the team and understand what’s going on in high school. They also help out with a lot of techniques in dance. They’re just kind. Without them, I’d be completely lost.”

It’s not just the upperclassmen that show support and love to Maylee. As a freshman, her best friends going into dance were the ones that she knew the best: Other freshmen.

“I decided to audition because my friends Fiona [Overdevest] and Ellie [Stone] thought I was a good contender because I’m a gymnast, so I tried out and made the team,” Maylee said. “At the first couple of practices in the summer, I didn’t know anyone, so I was always in the back and never said anything. Fiona and Ellie were always there to tell me that I could do it even when I felt like I was absolutely failing.”

Seeing the upperclassmen lead as they do has given Maylee something to look up to as she continues her journey on the dance team for the next four years.

“I could say ‘Oh my gosh, my freshman year, I was so lost.'” Maylee said. “There’s this one senior on the team, Kaylin [Scheuneman]. I feel like she’s been the guiding force on the team, especially for the freshman. One time, at practice, I didn’t have a ride [home] and I was too shy to say anything, and she came up and asked me if I needed a ride. I just thought, ‘Wow.’ I want to be that type of upperclassman.”

One time, at practice, I didn’t have a ride [home] and I was too shy to say anything, and she came up and asked me if I needed a ride. I just thought, ‘Wow.’ I want to be that type of upperclassman.

— Maylee Ohlman

From Maylee’s initial decision to try out for varsity dance to looking forward to the future, the decisions she made seem to be the right ones.

“I definitely don’t regret [trying out]” Maylee said. “I’m very grateful I made the team in the first place, and that everyone trusted me to work hard and be a part of it. Hopefully, I’ll continue throughout all four years, be a mentor on the team, and get a lot better at my technique. I hope I’m able to achieve that.”