Dawson, Ye receive All-Star Award

Katie Lew, Photo Editor

Olivia Dawson (12) gained more and more confidence as she danced through her routine. Allowing her body to move on its own, Dawson flew into the air, performing an aerial as the finishing move to her audition.

Dawson had been dancing all weekend at the West Coast Elite Dance Camp, preparing for the upcoming competition season. While the camp provided intense training to improve the dancers’ skills, the camp also provided an opportunity for the participants to audition for a scholarship, which Dawson gladly took part in.

“I really made an effort to learn the dances and figure out how to put my own style on the combos,” Dawson said. “[During the audition], I just followed what my body was doing. At that moment, I felt like I had nothing to lose so I went for it. If I fell down, I didn’t think it really mattered as long as I tried. I think that is what the teachers notice.”

Dawson, along with the rest of Dance Troupe, attended the WCE Dance Camp in Burbank, July 30 to Aug. 1. 

Nearly 30 other teams attended, totaling about 500 dancers at the three-day camp. The hour-long classes were separated into three different levels: intermediate, intermediate-advanced, and advanced. Each class differed in genres of dances, which included jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. 

Each day, the girls would wake up at 6 a.m., get ready, eat breakfast in their coach’s room, and convene in front of the convention center before leaving for their own classes. 

“The officers would lead stretches and then we would go over our team dance in the morning,” Dawson said. “That time in front [of the convention center] was one of the only times we could be together as a team.”

Dance classes lasted from morning until night; the girls practiced both for their own classes as well as their team dance, which they would perform at the end of the camp. 

They learned three routines as a team and chose one to perform at the closing showcase. This gave each high school team a chance to perform for the rest of the camp and demonstrate their skills.

“Dancing with everyone really enhanced and strengthened the team dynamic, especially considering us being virtual for the past year and a half since we weren’t given as many opportunities last year to bond,” Suzanne Ye (12) said.

On the third day, the teams would not only perform for the showcase, but for scholarships and awards as well.

Each dancer wore a number during the entire day as the teachers would observe and mark down which numbers stood out to them the most. At the end of the camp, whichever numbers most consistently appeared on each teacher’s sheets would receive an All-Star award.

To her surprise, Ye was one of the lucky few who received an All-Star award.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Ye said. “It’s my senior year so I won’t attend this type of high school dance camp ever again so it was a great way to commemorate this experience.

Dawson was also astonished to receive both the All-Star award and a scholarship. Dawson said though she did try her best, she did not intentionally try to catch the attention of the teachers. 

[The All-Star award] is a way to bring more attention to your team, especially because it’s at the beginning of the year and there are a lot of new teams and members who haven’t been seen before,” Dawson said. “It somewhat sets people’s expectations for your team and how they respect you in a way. I was really excited, of course, but I was also surprised. I don’t usually receive these kinds of awards at WCE.”

While the two girls accomplished a great feat, their biggest takeaway from the camp wasn’t their success in earning an award, but being able to spend time with their team. 

“Despite all the challenges, it was really great spending time with the team and getting to strengthen our team dynamic for this coming season,” Ye said. “Everyone was there to push each other. Even when we were all exhausted, we encouraged each other to push through.”