The Detroit Lakes High School Dance Team performing (Michelle Maier, courtesy Hope Hanson)

Dance Team Captains Share Their Biggest Successes and Mistakes

Serving as captain of your dance team is a great opportunity. But it's an opportunity that comes with responsibilities and requires choices, which means mistakes are inevitable. Dance Spirit asked three high school team captains about their successes and missteps.

Alyssa Gernert (middle row, second from left) with her fellow Post Falls High School Dance Team members (Noelle Thornton, courtesy Alyssa Gernet)

Alyssa Gernet

Post Falls High School Dance Team, Post Falls, ID

"I was a co-captain my seventh-grade year, captain my eighth-grade year, co-captain my junior year, and captain senior year. One of my biggest successes as captain is confidently leading my team. If girls look confused I ask if they need help and try to slow things down. Sometimes I stand in the front during practice so girls can watch me if they need to. And other times, I stand in back so I can catch errors the coaches may not see, or so I can correct confusion before it becomes a habit."

"One mistake I've made as a captain is not being cheerful enough. I want the absolute best for this team, so I can be too serious. At one practice, the girls would not stop talking, and we were getting nothing done. I became frustrated and told the girls they needed to quiet down and listen, but I must have been too harsh because I heard later a teammate thought I was rude."

"There are so many things captains and coaches do behind the scenes. You need to be the most dedicated member of the team."

Hope Hansen, Senior

Detroit Lakes High School Dance Team, Detroit Lakes, MN

"In my hometown, we have three distinctly different dance studios, and members of all three studios come together for our high school dance team. Getting us all to work together for a common goal is something I am so proud of."

"Sometimes there are arguments over simple things, like arms on leaps and preps for turns. I talk to my coach to know exactly how she wants things done and try to clarify often for the team so there is no confusion."

"Promoting a respectable and positive image for our team is something I try hard to do as a captain. I run our team's Twitter and Instagram accounts, and I am always congratulating other teams at our high school that are succeeding in their seasons. We, as a team, also make a conscious effort to go to other sporting events."

"A mistake I make is thinking too hard at times about the responsibility of being captain. I tend to become stressed very easily and, unfortunately, that can affect my attitude at practice. I don't speak as positively or be as smiley and optimistic as I usually am. At stressful times, I take deep breaths and focus on one thing at a time."

"To other captains, I would encourage you to lead by example. If I tell my team not to mark any skills and go full-out, I need to do that every time. If people see you giving 110 percent, they'll be more likely to do the same."

Macey Frost (front row, third from right) and her fellow Stayton High School Dance Team dancers (April Hermann, courtesy Macey Frost)

Macey Frost, Senior

Stayton High School Dance Team, Stayton, OR

"As captain, I make a special effort to be loyal, motivating, and hardworking. I show up early to practice. I cheer for teammates."

"One mistake I've made is not doing as many bonding activities or spending time outside of dance with my teammates. My sophomore year before I became captain, we had multiple planned trips so we could spend more time together. For example, the captains would plan to go to frozen yogurt or dinner after our practice. As a member of the team, I always looked forward to spending time with my dance friends in a more relaxed setting."

"My biggest piece of advice for future dance team captains is to put others before yourself. Frequently check in with your teammates to make sure they are doing OK—whether it's concerning dance, school, or their personal life. Make sure to be observant and aware of each team member."

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