Madison-Plains adds hip-hop team

Tryouts for Madison-Plains High Schools’ new hip-hop dance team will take place this week.

Gail Oravec, the district’s elementary music teacher and the high school’s former football cheerleading coach, is coordinating the team.

“I went to a dance competition and saw London’s hip-hop team perform. They were great. I thought, ‘This is something we need at Madison-Plains,’ ” Oravec said. “With dance becoming popular in our society, I think it would be another great extracurricular activity for our students.”

At the May 23 school board meeting, Oravec reported that 32 girls had expressed interest in trying out. The squad is open to boys and girls in ninth through 12th grade.

The hip-hop coach from Central Crossing High School in Grove City is helping Oravec roll out the new club sport. The plan is to have the team perform at home football and basketball games and enter two or three competitions in the fall and winter.

“I thought maybe we could also connect with the band for music,” Oravec said. “Music does a very wonderful thing to a crowd. It gets the crowd excited and it gets students excited.”

Students who want to try out must attend two preliminary sessions from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. June 2-3 at the middle school. A choreographer will teach them a routine, dance moves and stunts. Additionally, students must come up with 45 seconds of their own material to go with 45 seconds of choreographed material. Tryouts will take place on June 4.

“I’m looking for students with a lot of rhythm, plus good academics. They need to be able to represent our district well. I’m big on teacher recommendations,” Oravec said.

While she didn’t have a firm cut-off in mind for the number of squad members, she did note that London’s team has 22 dancers and Central Crossing’s has 14.

For the first year, the squad will be a club sport, rather than a varsity sport. Participants will pay for their own shoes and uniforms, which together will run between $100 and $180. Oravec is planning fundraisers to help defray the costs. One possibility is a dance clinic for kindergarten through fifth-graders.

As it stands now, Madison-Plains will have one hip-hop dance team for football and one for basketball. As is the case with the cheerleading program, some of the dancers will compete on both hip-hop teams, Oravec said.

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