Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Members of Madison-Plains High School’s new hip-hop dance team are: (from left) Samantha Lemieux, Brooke Buscemi, Sara Oravec, Jennifer Newman, Arielle Smith, Kaitlyn Toops and Abby Oravec. Gail Oravec serves as the team’s coach.
Inspired in part by the popularity of the television shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” Madison-Plains High School has jumped into the world of hip-hop.
A seven-member hip-hop dance team is performing this fall at competitions and select home football games. Gail Oravec, a Madison-Plains graduate, parent of students in the district, and the district’s elementary music teacher, is the adviser.
“They are all wonderful girls. They all get good grades and are all very coachable,” Oravec said.
Practices began the day after the Madison County Fair in July. The team held a camp for four days at the Mount Sterling Community Center. Now that school is back in session, they practice several days a week after school.
For some, that means double duty. Brooke Buscemi, a junior from the London area, also is a cheerleader. She doesn’t seem to mind the extra hours of practice; she loves the difference between the two performance styles.
“Sara Oravec and I had talked about the idea of a hip-hop dance team for a long time,” said Buscemi, who has cheered since she was 5. She and Sarah, one of Oravec’s daughters, cheer for Madison-Plains’ football and basketball teams.
“I have always been a cheerleader, and I like the dancing part of cheerleading the best,” Buscemi said.
Hip-hop is definitely a dancing departure. The movements are completely different from those used in cheerleading, she explained.
“It’s so much fun. We have a blast because we’re all really close.”
In addition to Buscemi and Sara Oravec, the football season hip-hop team includes Samantha Lemieux, Jennifer Newman, Abby Oravec, Arielle Smith and Kaitlyn Toops. For basketball season, the team will include Tara Carroll, Valerie Conn, Sara Fisher, Caroline Martin and Brianna Walker.
The football dance team was slated to make their public performance debut at Madison-Plains’ home game against West Jefferson on Aug. 29. Prior to half-time, lightning delayed the game’s finish until Aug. 30 when some of the dancers had other obligations.
Their second performance was set for Madison-Plains’ homecoming game against Washington Court House on Sept. 12. They also were scheduled to dance at the Sept. 26 game against Miami Trace and the Oct. 24 game against London, who has their own hip-hop dance team.
Oravec’s goal is to enter her squad in two competitions in October through the U.S. All Star Federation for cheerleading and dance teams. Stacey Buttel, the dance and cheer coach at Central Crossing High School in the South-Western City School District, is helping to choreograph the routine, which must last at least 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
The hip-hoppers’ schedule also includes fundraisers. They held a car wash at the Tri-County Joint Fire District station in Mount Sterling on Sept. 6. They will hold a pie sale through Der Dutchman restaurant prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
In between, they will host a dance camp for boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade. The camp will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21-23 at Midway Elementary. Participants will perform with the high school team at the Oct. 24 football game. Information about the camp, including the cost, will be sent home with students in early October.
“I think the kids will have a blast. We will have prizes and ribbons. They’ll get to do a full two hours of dancing every day,” said Oravec, who has witnessed young students’ love of dancing in her music classes at the elementary schools.
The high school dancers, along with Oravec, will choreograph the two-minute routine the youngsters will perform during the football game.