Ali Grendel finds her passion on the sidelines


Under the exemplary “Friday Night Lights,” sophomore Ali Grendel is doing what she loves most—dancing. 

Since her freshman year, Ali has been a part of the FHC Dance Team. Not only does she find interest in taking her passion into school, but she also finds enjoyment in performing in front of her many classmates on the field or on the gym floor.

“[Performing at the football games] is definitely nerve-racking,” Ali said. “Especially when I was a freshman. I always got super nervous before performances, but it always ended up going great and it was super fun. It is definitely something I look forward to in the season. This year we haven’t really gotten the chance to do much of that, so I really miss it.”

Consisting of mainly jazz, hip-hop, and—Ali’s personal favorite—pom, she finds joy in dancing and performing alongside the many friends she has begun to make in the past two years. 

Although, dance team was not the only dance experience she has had.

Ali has been dancing since she was around the adolescent age of three. In kindergarten, she began to competitively dance and she has been doing so ever since. Over the course of many years dancing, it has easily become what she loves the most.

“[Dancing] is one of my passions,” Ali said. “I put a lot of time into [dance] and it means a lot to me. It’s like my creative outlet. Most of my time is put into dance, even when I’m not with my team or at a studio. I do it on my own because it’s what makes me happy.”

In eighth grade, Ali decided to take a step back from what she loves to focus on her education and getting ready for high school dance. While she figured it would be a good idea to take a year off, her eyes were opened to how much of a positive impact dance has had on her life.

“I think my whole eighth grade year, when I was taking time off, just made me realize how much I do need [dance],” Ali said. “Because I started so young, I never really got a chance to live without [dance], but when I did, it was really eye-opening to see how much of an impact it has had on me and my life.”

Making friends and continuing on with her passion have always been Ali’s main priorities; starting at a dance company at such a young age has given Ali many great memories. From making lifelong friends to traveling around the country, she has experienced many sentimental moments.

“Last year, dance team went to Florida for nationals,” Ali said. “That was super fun. When I did studio dance when I was younger, we went to places like Myrtle Beach, New Jersey, and we even went to Disney World once. That was always [a] super fun addition.”

When Ali was younger, she did not participate in the style of dancing she knows as her favorite now—poms. The adrenaline rush, the upbeat style, and the intricate choreography that comes with poms is what challenges her and makes her want to become better every time she learns a new dance. Pom also happens to be the style that most collegiate level dance teams perform—which Ali finds a particular interest in.

“I definitely think it would be really cool to do college dance team,” Ali said. “Grand Valley has a great team, and so does MSU and a lot of other colleges around here. I follow them on Instagram and it’s just really cool to look at what they’re doing at a collegiate level.”

While Ali adores dance and wants to continue on with it, she is also faced with many adversities that come her way—but in the end, when it is just her and her dancing, she finds peace and comfort in knowing that all of it will be worth it when she can step onto the field or on the stage once again.

Participating in this strenuous sport for so long is one of Ali’s greatest accomplishments and shows the true love and passion she has for dance; no matter what may come her way, she always can find herself when she is on the stage next to some of her best friends.

“Sticking with it for so long has really been an accomplishment,” Ali said. “There have been some ups and downs throughout the entirety of my dancing career, but I think just pushing through a lot of difficulties dance in itself has thrown at me is rewarding, just because of my love for the sport.”