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Dance More than Movement

January 31, 2018
By Grayce McCormick

At Mercy High School, dance is an art form for everyone. Whether a student is experienced or hasn’t danced a day in their lives, the dance program has something to offer for any Mercy girl. In taking dance classes, students don’t just learn technique and dance moves. They learn lessons and acquire skills in teamwork, memorization, and are encouraged to jump out of their comfort zone. These lessons will help them in every other aspect of life, and they get to have fun as they do it!

The dance program at Mercy High School offers a wide variety of styles and technique. From the classical ballet and jazz to modern and hip hop, the dancers at Mercy dip their toes into each genre and learn the different terminology and specific moves for each one.

In addition to technique classes and combinations, the members of the dance program also learn about the history of dance and the prominent founders of each style.

Choreography is also a large portion of the dance program. Each year, the Mercy dancers perform in a dance recital, where they perform a dance choreographed by their instructor and a dance they choreograph themselves or within a small group.

Katie Kilpatrick, a former dance major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, serves as faculty for the dance program. Kilpatrick has been dancing since age four, and since then has danced in a company, taught at various schools and studios, and has now been at Mercy for three years. This is also her first year as the Dance Team instructor. The Dance Team performs routines at sporting events, and auditions are held each year to become a member.

Within the dance program, Kilpatrick strives to expose students to as many types of dance and as many levels of technique as she can. She holds a placement test for students entering class just to figure out the level of knowledge and familiarity the student may have with dance. Once students are placed in a class, Kilpatrick attempts to tailor the instruction and choreography to the students specifically.

“It’s more than getting to know the names of the students, it’s about getting to know them on a personal level,” Kilpatrick said.

She enjoys playing fun dance games with her students to relax in addition to her technique instruction.

Instead of aiming toward a specific goal, the dance program at Mercy accomplishes whatever it is that the student may want out of the classes. Whether it’s getting onstage and performing, improving dance skills, staying in shape, or simply unwinding and having fun, the dance program is open to any levels: beginner, intermediate, and/or advanced. Dancers at Mercy learn discipline, coordination, and individuality; they come out of the program with a solid foundation of knowledge in the dance world, and memories they take with them for the rest of their lives.