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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Singleton

MDT Shakes it Up

Coach Schnaak (left) and Coach Sarah Kuehn (right), Photo Credits to Lily Schnaak

The Mishawaka Dance Team is kicking off their 2022-2023 season with a bang. Following last year's feat of State Runner up in the Hip-Hop Genre Category, coaches Sarah Kuehn and Lily Schnaak, are excited to see what is to come next. The team has already debuted during Mishawaka High School’s football season with a hip-hop style routine, and they are trucking along quickly as they work on their Pom and Hip-Hop routines for the IHSDTA [Indiana High School Dance Team Association] competitions starting in December.

This year, different from their two previous seasons, Coach Kuehn had the Pom routine choreographed by Brittney Crosby from Mitchell High School. This is a big shift. In previous years, Kuehn choreographed the team's routines alone. “Having the routine base choreographed for me this season really took a lot of weight off of me. I think it was beneficial to the team as well with learning it so quickly and now we have all the time to perfect it and focus on the minor most important details! I’ll call it a WIN!” Kuehn said.

They did however keep some similarities with Coach Schnaak continuing with her own choreography for the team's Hip-Hop routine.

Coach Kuehn and Senior Amaya Cutler (Left), Coach Schnaak and Senior Abigail Singleton(right), Photo Credits to Lily Schnaak

The choreography isn’t the only thing that has changed up. With graduates, Emily Kraft and Natalie Baumgartner leaving, two new seniors, including Amaya Cutler have stepped up to the plate to lead their team to become state champions. “I hope the girls stay consistent and committed, and they develop a passion for something they love. I’m hopeful for the new bonds we create to get through this new season, and improvements among all dancers. I want these girls to become leaders!,” Cutler said.

The team's numbers have grown as well, by 33%. Both the seniors and coaches are hopeful for the new season coming up. Schnaak said, “The team has already improved immensely since we started in the summer…Personally, I think we’ve already topped last season. Choreography is better, music is better, costumes are better. We can only go up.”

Physically, the Dance Team continues to improve and build their skillset; mentality has also improved throughout the team. Both coaches had a positive outlook on such changes. Kuehn said, “NO DRAMA MAMA! I love that about this team the most!”

Schnaak explained, “Drama this year has been pretty much nonexistent, which is a huge change from past seasons, and we’d love for it to stay that way. You can’t dance as a team if there isn’t respect for one another. “

Mishawaka Dance Team and Coaches, Photo Credits to Lily Schnaak

While the team is finished with their football season performances, they still have a lot more to look forward to in the months to come. Dance is nearly all school year long, starting late June with conditioning and mentorship, and ending mid-March with a state competition where they strive to bring home a championship.

Coaches are eager to see what comes of the team as it progresses. Kuehn said, “I pray we continue to challenge ourselves and dance as a unit. I love our big happy family. Last season was amazing with the amount of wins we brought home and I am always hoping for more with this season. Naturally, pushing hard for a state title this season. I know the team has what it takes.”

Schnaak also showed excitement for the team’s placing as IHSDTA competition season rolls around as well as next year’s season, “Consistently bringing home 1st & 2nd place last season was huge, and I’d like to keep that going this season. Placing 2nd & 4th in the State is a huge accomplishment and I'd love to bring home some State Champion titles, but the overall big picture is to get more people interested in joining the team for the seasons to follow.”

So with these many months to come, and many more practices to come, the coaches are ready to lead their team to victory. With a bigger team, better attitudes, and more improvements, the 2022-2023 Dance Team season is a go!

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