Dancing Queens

Dancing Queens

Meg Keyes, Journalism Block 4A/C

When discussing big events at Shenendehowa, one of the first to come to mind is the Homecoming game. The whole school buzzes with excitement in the weeks leading up to the game, and there are pulls for students who aren’t all that into football, too: namely, the halftime show.

One of the main components of the Homecoming halftime show is a performance from the Shenendehowa Dance Team, with Homecoming (and the accompanying pep rally) being many students’ primary exposure to the team.

So what does the dance team do, and what’s behind the carefully choreographed routines the student body gets to see?

The Shenendehowa Dance Team, headed by arts teacher Mrs. Butterfield, welcomes students in grades 9-12. They meet Monday through Thursday after school, from 3 to 4:30.

Kaite Dean, a senior, finds that their appearance at the Homecoming game can be nerve-wracking. She said performing at such a big event is “kinda scary, actually. It’s all of our peers watching us.” 

Caitlin Cammett, a freshman, agreed, citing the pressure to perform well as a source of the anxiety. “It’s stressful because we need our routines to be good to hype up the crowd,” she said.

However, members of the team also emphasized the exhilaration that comes from performing. Cammett, whose first Homecoming performance was at the 2022 game, said that “being able to perform at the homecoming football game and pep rally seems very exciting.”

Emily Symans, a senior, added that the team finds satisfaction and joy in showing off the efforts they put into a performance. “It’s exciting because we put so much hard work into our routine and we can’t wait to perform it for everyone,” she said.

The team performs at other games throughout the year too, appearing at Shen’s home games for both football and basketball. They also host dance clinics for elementary school students and perform at charity events like the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Albany. 

Dean, a captain of the team, finds it a safe, comfortable space to express herself. “There’s no judgment from anyone, making it easy to be yourself,” she said.

Symans agreed, praising the team too. “I love going to practice everyday and being surrounded by such a loving and supportive team,” she said. “It’s a super fun experience and you get to meet incredible people.”

Even for newer members, the team has the same positive impact. Cammett, who started on the team this year, said that team practice is her “favorite part of the day and has made [her] high school experience amazing so far.”

She said that she would “recommend the team to others because it is a great way to find people at your school that all share the same passion as you.”