The new dance team coaches bring new perspectives to the team


Pounding feet hit the floor while heavy breaths fill the warm, humid air. Jazzae Ford and Crystal Delgodo, new FHC dance team coaches and best friends, are learning a new dance that they will be performing the next day. As the Sunday night creeps into the early morning Monday, the dancers call it quits, hoping that the dance they just spent hours on learning is going to stick.

“[We danced] all over,” Delgodo said. “A mutual friend of ours would get [us] dancing gigs everywhere.”

Not only were they able to perform at a variety of places but, many years ago, the dance coaches also found themselves dancing at The Haunt to make a little extra cash.  

“I’m actually not into Halloween or haunted houses, but I love to dance and perform,” Delgodo said. “We danced a lot. One night we counted, [and] we danced 35 times in an evening.”

Once Ford and Delgodo realized that they would never get their fill of dancing, they decided that they could spread their love of dance through teaching, which eventually led them to FHC’s dance program. 

“We love performing, and we [also] do love teaching and coaching,” Delgodo said. “We absolutely love performing, and if it was something we could do forever, we would. But we just as well love teaching and coaching too.”  

Ford and Delgodo co-own a dance studio, Imprint Dance Studio in Grand Rapids, where they get to teach dancers ranging from 2-18 years old, including many of the girls on the dance team.  

Although teaching at a studio is different than teaching a school dance team, Ford and Delgodo met the challenge head-on.

“At the studio, you can buy how much you want to train,” Ford said. “If you want to train more, you just buy more time. In school and on the dance team, you get this amount of time, and you put this amount of work in. You either make it worth it, or you don’t.” 

While holding two jobs may seem stressful to most, it was a no-brainer for Ford and Delgodo. When they heard that the dance team needed a coach, they were more than happy to step up and take the role.  

“A lot of the girls on the team are from our studio, so they are kind of like our babies,” Ford said. “It was kind of just like when your kid needs help,  you’re there to help them. I think that’s what drove us to step in. When they needed us, we were like ‘we’re going to do this,’ and we are happy we are doing it for them.” 

Once the dance girls heard who their new coaches were going to be, they were beyond excited. With Ford and Delgodo’s amazing friendship and background in dancing, the girls were confident they would have a fun and successful season. Molly Vonk, a sophomore on the team, felt that these new coaches would elevate the program. 

“[The two coaches] are very close, which means that they have each other’s back,” Molly said. “For example, if one can’t make it to practice, the other one will be there—without a doubt. These coaches are different from our previous coaches because Jazzae is also the assistant coach for Davenport’s dance team. She knows the in and outs of ‘dance team style’ choreography, which will benefit our scores at competitions.” 

Senior Maddie Musgraves, another member on the team, also describes how the coaches being so close will benefit the team in many ways

“Their strong friendship is beneficial to the team because they work really great together,” Maddie said. “Their teamwork helps our team become stronger. They are amazing role models for us, and they show that their great friendship will push us further rather than distract us. Their ideas bounce off one another, creating a productive practice each day.”

The experience and perspective of both coaches will be essential in improving the dance team’s performances, especially as they move on to bigger competitions over the course of their season like nationals in February. Delgodo believes that this year will be “a nationals year for them,” an idea that will be encouraging to both coaches and dancers as they prepare.

Although winning and placing well at competitions is a big aspect of dance, the coaches both want to emphasize the importance of personal growth for each member as they progress through the season.

“Other than that, [we hope] just that they have a fun, cohesive year,” Delgodo said, “and a year of growth personally as a dancer, maturing and everything.”

Although the pair were only instated recently, they are already enamored with the team and all the girls on it. With what they’ve seen already, they both are expecting and hoping for a unique season. 

“They are all extremely talented and come from good backgrounds as far as dance,” Ford said. “They seem like they are a very cohesive as a team.”

Now, the pressure is on for the girls and the coaches to succeed this year, but with fresh talent on both sides of the spectrum, the season will be one like no other. From Ford’s perspective, every second, every minute, every performance will count, and for that reason alone, the dance team is set to effectively achieve a successful season.

“You go out there and you’re on the stage for three minutes, and that’s all you get,” Ford said. “You really, really do prepare for so long for one moment, and you don’t get it back.”