The FHC Varsity Dance Team Pom and Dance Clinic proves to be a success


Little girls scurry around the gyms with poms held tightly in their hands. Their small feet hit the floor as they dance to the music in the background. Their smiles are wide, and their laughter is contagious. 

Young girls from the ages of kindergartners all the way to sixth graders found themselves at this year’s FHC Varsity Dance team clinic. Coached by the varsity dance team, 247 girls were able to attend this annual fundraiser for the dance team, which gives the team the funds to attend the national competition in Florida.

“The main thing besides making sure the kids have fun is that it is a fundraiser for us to go to nationals,” senior and dance captain Alyssa Zadel said. “We try to make it a good time and encourage them to come back next year. We also encourage them to eventually try out for the team. It is really good to get awareness out about the program.”

Teaching such young girls can prove to be a challenge at times, but the team was able to persevere and teach the girls cute, simple dances to perform for their family and friends.

“It is a long day for kids,” Alyssa said. “It is hard to keep them focused and actually wanting to dance versus just playing games and running around.”

Although it proved challenging to teach the kids at times, the team was able to come up with many great strategies to help the young girls comprehend their dances.

“We taught them the dance really slowly and with a lot of repetition,” Alyssa said. “We would do some, learn a little bit, and then do that a bunch of times. We would just add on a little, and then ask them if they knew it or not.”

Not only is it exciting for the team members to meet new, aspiring dancers, but they also get to see familiar faces every year. Girls often will come many years in a row, bringing more friends each time.

Seeing these familiar faces is what makes the clinic so special for many of the team members. They can recall being just like the young girls who now are looking up to them.

“I think it’s fun when they know you already when they come,” Alyssa said. “A lot of them look up to us already, and they have seen us dance at basketball games.”

For team member sophomore Molly Vonk, the art of movement is something she loves and wishes to spread to the younger generations of dancers that hope to follow in their footsteps. Whether it is their first year at the clinic or they have been attending many years prior, the team loves seeing new faces on the floor.

“I like teaching other kids because I like seeing how excited they get about dancing, and they look up to us,” Molly said. “That is what I did when I was little; I looked up to the older girls and wanted to be just like them when I grew up.”

Throughout the day, the team tried to make the event as much fun as possible for the girls. They did everything from dancing to crafts in hopes of keeping the kids focused and entertained throughout the day. Each girl was able to walk away knowing a brand new dance routine; they even got their very own picture frame souvenir.

This year more than others, the team has needed to come together and be stronger than ever before. After losing a coach, the members of the team needed to step up and learn how to do things on their own. Whether it be practicing solo or organizing the events on their own, the team certainly learned many important lessons about perseverance.

“We’ve had some struggles with the team,” Molly said. “Throughout it all, we have stayed strong, continued through, and persevered through all of the problems. We are just as strong, if not more,  strong than we were before.”

After tackling the day head-on, the young dancers performed their adorable dances for their family and friends. After working an incredibly challenging, eight-hour day, watching it all come together is the best part for many members of the dance team.

“The best part of the clinic for me personally is watching each age group do their final performance of their dance at the end, which they learned and worked on all day,” senior and dance captain Lindsey Lunt said.

Sponsored by many local companies and businesses, the new mother in charge, Melissa HoodHood, was able to put together an amazing event in hopes to be able to send the team to their national competition this winter. Because of the help of businesses including Workforce Software, Forest Hills Homes, and Grand Rapids Gymnastics, HoodHood believes that the event was a large success.

“These local businesses chose to support the sport of dance and believe in what our athletes can accomplish through hard work, perseverance and teamwork,” HoodHood said.  

This year’s dance clinic proved to be an amazing success for the team. The turnout was outstanding, and the eagerness of the children was better than anticipated. The young girls had fun learning new dances, playing with pom poms, and spending time with high school girls.

“Who doesn’t love to dance, especially when pom poms are involved?” HoodHood said. “The little girls got a few hours to hang out with high school dancers while also doing something fun with friends.”