Sydney Gallop '20
Following an initiative led by co-captains junior Destini-Joy (DJ) Green and senior Cassidy Willie-Lawes, Upper School students now have the opportunity to develop choreographic skills and perform routines throughout the 2019-2020 school year.
The dance team will practice year-round, twice every eight school days, in accordance with Sacred Heart’s eight-day academic schedule. They will rehearse in the school’s state-of-the-art Dance & Yoga Studio in the Athletic Center.
One of DJ and Cassidy’s goals is to organize a performance during the halftime of a winter basketball game. Cassidy and DJ also plan to organize a routine for homecoming, an event that the Sacred Heart Upper School may host this winter.
Cassidy’s passion for dance inspired her to start the new dance team at school. Through the new team, she hopes to share her enthusiasm for dance and offer a new opportunity to students.
“Dance is the only thing that I never quit,” Cassidy said. “I’ve been dancing since I was four years old, and I stopped when I came to Sacred Heart. When I learned that there was no dance team, I realized I wanted to start one. I was dependent on someone to start it for me, but when I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I knew something had to be put into place.”
Likewise, DJ is eager to establish the new team and hopes it will leave its own legacy of expression, competition, and tradition.
“Dance allows me to share a minuscule piece of myself with the rest of the world, and I can pick and choose which parts of myself to share confidently,” DJ said. “Cassidy and I have seen that this was a long time coming, and it’s just very exciting to see this come alive before our eyes. It’s important that we started the team because we both come from backgrounds that place a strong influence on dance. It’s us dropping a piece of our culture in Sacred Heart.”
Although she will be graduating with the Class of 2020, Cassidy’s goal is to instill a long-lasting passion for dance in the school community.
“I’m really hoping that we can put together something that will be really amazing and memorable for our first performance as a dance team,” Cassidy said. “Afterwards, since I will be gone, I’m not sure where it’s going to take off, but I just hope people continue to join and perform.”
Despite the student-driven effort to create the team, Cassidy credits Mrs. Christine Gifis, Middle School Spanish Teacher, Assistant Dean of Students, and Seventh Grade Lead Teacher, with inspiring them to submit a proposal. According to Cassidy, Mrs. Gifis told them to “just go for it.” Cassidy and DJ then met with Ms. Elizabeth Dennison, Director of Athletics, who welcomed their ideas. Cassidy hopes that the dance team will make strides during the 2019-2020 school year and will continue to have an impact for years to come.
“I am really excited to see how this plays out, and I hope that it goes well and that this will be something long-lasting in Sacred Heart history,” Cassidy said.
Featured Image and video by Sydney Gallop ’20