Rielly Nehls continues her dancing career as a member of the Laker Dance Team


For many years, senior Rielly Nehls has known that dancing in college would be her biggest dream. Dancing underneath the watchful eye of thousands of people and performing for fans are the experiences she adores. In the fall, Rielly will continue her dancing career as a member of the Grand Valley Laker Dance Team.

“I have always wanted to continue dancing after high school, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go,” Rielly said. “My coaches Jazzae and Crystal have been encouraging me to try out for a college dance team since my freshman year of high school.”

Although Rielly was unsure of where she wished to continue her dancing career, she knew that dancing was her passion and the thing she wanted to pursue. As all eyes are on her, Rielly loves to perform the sport that has taken up so much of her life.

“I love the adrenaline rush dancing brings when you are dancing in front of hundreds of people,” Rielly said. “During football and basketball games, I feel like I’m in the middle of all the action.”

Five years ago, Rielly became a member of Imprint Dance Company’s team as the new studio opened. She spent many nights dancing alongside her coaches Jazzae Ford and Crystal Delgado, but when she entered her freshman year of high school, she also joined the school’s varsity dance team.

In February of 2019, Rielly experienced the most memorable moment of her dancing career: high school nationals. Rielly, alongside her teammates, traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete in the difficult competition.

“The dance team’s placement at nationals is one of my favorite dance memories,” Rielly said. “Our team was an extremely close group that got along well. It’s rewarding to see all the hard work paying off with national placements.”

As Rielly transitions from high school dance to college dance, she has to prepare for the changes it will bring. With higher stakes and more independence, the transition may cause a few new challenges to enter Rielly’s life.

“High school dancing has a lot more parental involvement,” Rielly said. “At Grand Valley, everything is communicated through the girls, so it’s a lot more responsibility to take on. The pressure to perform is a lot higher as well.”

Although the change may bring a few challenges to Rielly, her excitement and anticipation greatly outweigh any fear she may have.

As the crowds will grow larger and the pressure to do well increases, Rielly cannot wait to step out onto the field with her new team.

“I am looking forward to dancing on the football field and at basketball in front of thousands of people,” Rielly said. “The crowd and arenas are much bigger and more exciting. I am also looking forward to knowing all the girls on the team. Going into college knowing people that have been there for a while is a huge benefit.”

As Rielly enters the Laker Dance Team, her friends and family will be there supporting her throughout her journey. For her entire dance career, they have been there with her every step of the way, and as she enters college, the supported she has received will help her greatly as she improves.

“My biggest supporters are probably my parents,” Rielly said. “They come out to every football game, basketball game, dance competition, and any other performance I have. My friends are also super supportive; we always cheer each other on from backstage, and they are the first people to congratulate each other.”  

Although dance takes up so much of Rielly’s life, it has taught her many important lessons about life.

Dancing has taught Rielly the ability and importance to persevere, and the lesson is sure to show throughout her college journey.

“I have learned the dedication and the amount of hours of hard work it takes to reach goals,” Rielly said. “It has also taught me to be more forward and step out as a leader since I usually have a very laid back personality.”

Although Rielly may be facing many new challenges in the future, she plans to stick to her morals and remember the importance of the lessons dance has taught her. As she becomes a member of the Grand Valley Dance Team, everything that she has learned will truly come into play.

“My family always says to take things one step at a time,” Rielly said. “Being a dancer, I have a very stressful and packed schedule, so looking at everything individually helps me stay relaxed and focused.”