By Breana Day
Avid Core is committed to highlighting community engagement and service that benefits younger generations. In her own words, Breana Day, Avid Core’s Project Management Specialist, explains the importance and lasting benefits of participating in and coaching a high school dance team, and what the experience means to her. We encourage you to learn more about Breana’s vocation and how you can help support her team, the Westlake Wolverinas, as they continue their dance journey.
Dance has been an important aspect of my life since the 2nd grade. Looking back, I know that I’ve always loved it. It’s a form of artistic expression that has stayed with me since childhood.
My high school dance coach was very important to me because she was more than just a coach – she provided a much-needed positive influence on the girls and was a source of support for us. Being a positive presence in young girls’ lives became something I wanted to do – I wanted to be that safe space that I found so many were missing.
Fast forward to my life as an adult, I now coach the dance team at Westlake High School in Waldorf, Maryland – the Westlake Wolverinas *Woot Wooot.* I create all of the choreography for the team, typically in three steps: working out the idea in my head; trying it out for myself; and then showing it to the girls. This process typically takes about 3 or 4 hours, but the dance itself always changes when I start the process of teaching it to the group.
As rewarding and fun as it is, there are of course challenges.
A big hurdle in teaching a public school dance team is often the lack of parent participation and support. There can be a lot of reasons for this, but it often shows no matter what the cause might be. From not purchasing team uniforms to simply not showing up to the performances and other events, parental support is, dare I say, lackluster.
But my girls really love dance, and I love them – which is what inspires me to keep coaching. Loving your actual team more than you love dance is key in staying with it. There are always going to be trials and tribulations, especially with coaching teenagers – whether it’s attitude, or their home life – but if you love THEM, and not the benefit of them or how they make you look, you’ll stay.
For me that means doing whatever it takes to make sure they can also stick with it. Often, that means buying their uniforms myself, or taking them home and helping to babysit siblings during practice. While the team’s latest fundraiser just ended, there are several being planned for this summer. The school doesn’t give us funding or support – they do not consider us a sport, but a club, so to find out how to support the team, contact me on Facebook (Breana Johnson) or on Instagram (@Planning_pumps_pearls).
Teaching and guiding others may bring with it various stresses and frustrations, but it can also be a great source of joy and pride, and can provide others the support and inspiration they may not be getting elsewhere.
Find the Westlake Wolverinas on Instagram at @WHS_Wolverinas.