R-P dancers in step for a successful season

Rushford-Peterson Dance Team, front row: Lugain Ahmed, Lara Ahmed, Madison Rhodes, Aviana Anderson-Ingram, Alyssa Berg, Calista Rasmussen, Jessica Volker and Maria Burros. Middle row: Megan York, Kristina Stensgard, Jenna Meyer, Kenna Gallion, Ariana Rasmussen, Carina Bieberdorf, Brielle Rasmussen, Jadeyn Rasmussen and Hilary Eide. Back row: Lily Thompson, Grace Thompson, Madelyn Scheck, Kaylee Hahn, Johanna Siefert, Annika Bakkum-Ekern.
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While the R-P dance team is full of young talent, Coach Emily Paulson has high expectations for the upcoming season. “We’ve got a nice core of young, hard-working girls,” Paulson said. “That’s great news for the future. If these girls stick with it, they’ll really be good.”

Paulson has 23 dancers this season, which has allowed her to form four teams; varsity High Kick and Jazz, and junior varsity High Kick and Jazz. “We’ve always had a high-kick team, but this is the first time we’ve had both varsity and JV Jazz teams,” she said. “We’re really excited to have enough dancers to field those teams.” Paulson will be joined by Coach Leandra Duneman. Duneman, who is in her third year of coaching, will oversee the junior varsity dancers. 

Thirteen dancers will make up the High Kick team, Paulson said. “Eight of them are eighth graders, so we’re getting our feet wet and learning right now. There are eleven girls on the varsity Jazz team, and only two have ever danced Jazz before. But so far it’s been really cool. The girls are working hard and learning by the day.”

 R-P dancers have been practicing for weeks and, according to Paulson “finding their flow. The JV and varsity girls warm up together every day, which is a great way to bring the younger girls into the team and develop camaraderie. One thing I’m really excited about is we have brand new custom made uniforms for the High Kick team. This is my sixth year of coaching and the first brand new uniforms we’ve had. Good uniforms can actually make a difference in scoring; one of the judging categories is ‘routine effectiveness,’ and the appearance of the uniforms can really affect how judges rate a team.”

The R-P schedule was set to kick off Sat. Dec 1, but the winter storm prevented the dancers from attending. The regular season includes six meets and concludes Feb 1. The Section 1A meet is held Feb. 9 in Lake City. “Our goal is to be in the top half of teams in any meet we’re in,” Paulson said. “And I think that goal is in our reach.”