Rockford has always been known for their strong athletic teams, and dance has been no exception. With strong competitive studios in our area such as Rhythm Dance Center, Rockford School of Dance, and Dance Dimensions, girls often start training at age 4 or 5! The Rams have had successful JV and Varsity teams for decades, but never a middle school team, until now. For the first time in the school’s history, a middle school dance team was formed combining East and North.
The collaborative began years ago when Coach Jamie Freitag first approached Varsity Coach Lindsey Simmons. “I called her up and said I wanted to help out at the middle school level, but she said we didn’t have a team. She had always thought about it, but didn’t have anyone stepping forward to coach.” Freitag states she tried running it 2 years ago through Community Education, but didn’t have enough interest. This year MS Athletic Director Kevin O’Rourke helped her run it as a club and it was a hit.
“We did not have try-outs because we wanted all girls interested to have an opportunity to be part of this team. Since most of them compete at local studios, we also wanted them to have a taste of what it would be like to be on JV or Varsity in the future, along with their already 4-5 day per week dance schedules. It’s a big commitment, but their studios come first. Without the amazing training they get there, Rockford wouldn’t have the reputation of being “The Team to Beat.” Anyone interested in trying out, who doesn’t compete at a studio currently, should contact them for lessons. We are so blessed to have three amazing local studios. Take advantage of them!”
All three dance teams had an impressive finish to their season Saturday February 7th at the Capital Area Dance Competition at St. Johns High School, placing in all categories they entered. The Middle School Team, coached by Freitag and Shelby Oleksy, took 2nd in their only entry, Pom. Our JV team, coached by Shelby Poch, took 2nd place in Hip Hop and Jazz, and 3rd in Pom. Varsity, coached by Lindsey Simmons, Keri Kujala, and Melanie Holt, took 1st place in both Pom and Jazz, and also took home the coveted overall trophy for highest point total of the day for their jazz routine. Ram pride was high that day!
Coach Freitag noted that the Middle School Team also competed alone in Wayland in January, scoring higher than the JV winner. “It was an impressive first year since their season was so short. Most teams, including our JV and Varsity, dance all year long. We ran an 8 week season just to see if there was enough interest to make this program permanent. Our plan now is to hold try-outs in May and learn choreography this summer so that we can still keep the commitment level low during school. Middle school is tough enough with extra homework and 6 different teachers, so our goal is to have fun. The girls really enjoyed hanging out with students from different schools and different studios, but mostly they enjoyed the school spirit that goes along with being a RAM!”
The Rockford Dance Teams can also be seen performing at Football and Basketball games throughout the year.
Captions: Rockford Varsity Dance Team from back left: Coach Keri Kujala, Haylee Schuring, Rachael Nemic, Lauren Dilly, Camille Bruin, Ilene Gould, AnnMarie Aulbach, Coach Melanie Holt, Head Coach Lindsey Simmons, Annika Severson, Lexie Klunder, Regan Lang, Brittany Perry, Kendal Hefner, Emily Page, Sarah Hermann, Emerson Ross, Elliana Krohn
Rockford JV Dance Team from back left: Coach Shelby Poch, Annika Trierweiler, Hunter Ignasiak, Taylor Blackburn, Madeline Konsdorf, Corinne Moore
Rockford Middle School Dance Team (East and North Combined) from back left: Coach Jamie Freitag, Jillian Roney, Maddie Christians, Isabel Wood, Christine Holt, Abby Kurtz, Danielle Roades, Coach Shelby Oleksy, Emma Richter, Jocelyn Supanich, AisLynn Aulbach, Claire Froumis, Addie Wood, Sydney Stites, Hailey Smith, Sarah Neil, Julia Scheffler, Alexa Stites, Kalyn Jones, Ari Hyink, Avery Burger