Behind-The-Scenes Look: The Dance Team Prepares for Competition


Dahlia Vang

Dance team members (left to right) Delaney Johnston (10), Mikayla Forde (10), Molly Richardson (9), Katie Alstatt (9), Delaney Storm (9), Emma Plankers (11), Peyton Falen (10), and Sydney Bui (9) perform for the varsity basketball halftime show against Shawnee Mission Northwest.

Dahlia Vang and Hannah Snakenberg

The Olathe West Dance Team attended the Lee’s Summit North Dance Invitational last Saturday, Jan. 20. It was their second, and final competition of the year. Just over a month earlier, the dance team attended the Kansas City Classic at Liberty High School. At both competitions, they placed fourth in the Pom category.  


The Lee’s Summit Dance Invitational hosts many different school districts and grade levels. Some of the schools that went to the Kansas City Classic also attended this competition. 


“I hope that some of the people who saw us last time see us again,” said freshman Ruth Pickens.  “[I hope they are] reminded that really we work really hard and that we can hold our own with the other teams.”

The competition lasted all day and included many different categories of dance. To most, being surrounded by dancers is one of the many exciting things about going.

“I think I am most excited for the atmosphere and being surrounded by people who share the same common interest as we do,” said freshman Molly Richardson. “It just really builds up my happiness.”.


Members were excited, confident, and anxious for competition day to come. 


“I think we’re ready. We’ve worked really hard — [I’m] feeling pretty confident,” said junior Emma Plankers. 


Despite the anxieties associated with the preparation, the dance team has become a close-knit group over the past semester.  


Coming into a new school, and already knowing that you’re going to have a group of friends there, just helps in becoming really close,

— Mikayla Forde


Dancing has had a positive impacted all of the members’ lives. 


“I’ve been dancing for about 12 years now,” said freshman Molly Richardson. “This is only my second year in doing dance team and I think it’s really helped me find who I am. It helps me express my emotions, and it’s kind of my outlet from stress and stuff.”  


Even at a young age, it has influenced and helped them through life. 


“I’ve danced since I was three, so it’s always been a part of my life. But, I think I’ve grown,” said freshman Delaney Storm. 


Through dance, new friendships and relationships have developed throughout the group, creating a closer bond and everlasting relationship with the team. 


“It’s been great. I’ve made tons of new friends, and grown closer to people,” said freshman Lily Berry. 


Dance has also helped expand their horizons. 


“Dance has been really great because I’ve learned so many new things and made so many new friends through it,” said freshman Katie Alstatt. 


Members of the dance team learn and clean the routines together, and individually to prepare for competitions. 


“We pair off and watch each other dance the performance,” said freshman Sydney Bui. “That gives us an opportunity to really single out each individual’s techniques and what we need to work on for the competition.” 


With long periods of no school, a long break after learning the routine makes preparing the dance a little difficult for some members.

“[What’s difficult for me is] coming back from winter break — gaining the mentality, and getting back into cardio, running, and endurance,” said Sophomore Delaney Johnston. 


However, all the difficulties are worth it to these girls. The dance team members help each other through the difficult times by building each other up, and with that, they have grown very close. 


“I think the best part of the morning is when we go back to the locker room, turn on our favorite songs, and have jam sessions,” said sophomore Peyton Falen.