College Dance Team Central

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Feature: St. Benedict Dancer Kayelee Gill-Davidge

Dancing is Kayelee Gill-Davidge's life
Brainerd Dispatch

The 2009 Brainerd High School graduate has been dancing since she was 3. She took dance classes at Just For Kix and was on the BHS dance team. She competed at the state dance competition every year of her high school career.

"I had a lot of energy and I needed an outlet," said Gill-Davidge. "Dance was my outlet. When I was little, my sisters and I would dress up all the time and perform. I come from a dance family."

Gill-Davidge - who has done kick since age 3, ballet since fifth grade, jazz and lyrical dance since seventh grade - did not end her dance career after high school. Gill-Davidge, 18, tried out for the dance team at the College of St. Benedict, where she is a freshman.

"I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to dance," said Gill-Davidge. "I was going back and forth. I wanted to focus more on my school work, but then I thought if I don't try out I may regret it.

"I was really nervous at try-outs because there were girls from the Twin Cities who were on some of the top dance teams in the state. We learned a dance all day and then we tried out in small groups. It was hard because they shoved all these skills into a one-minute dance."

Gill-Davidge said about 100 girls tried out for the three dance teams at the college: The national team of 12 girls who compete in the national dance competitions; the regional team of 16 girls who compete in regional competitions; and the performance team, which is a combination of the two other teams, who perform for entertainment.

Gill-Davidge made the national and performance teams. Gill-Davidge said she participated in one performance team event and three competitions at Minnesota colleges. The national team also danced in the 2010 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship in January in Orlando, Fla. St. Ben's took fourth place out of 27 teams in the open class division.

"This was the highest the college has even placed in the last couple of years," said Gill-Davidge. "We're pretty proud. The competition was pretty intense and intimidating because it was in the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports and ESPN was videotaping the competition and backstage."

Gill-Davidge said the team danced to "National Women," a song remake that was performed to a lyrical dance. Gill-Davidge said the routine had a lot of high skills with a lot of turns. Before the competitions, Gill-Davidge said they practiced two hours a day, four days a week.

Gill-Davidge said competing on the college dance team was different from competing on the high school dance team. One of the main differences is the focus. Gill-Davidge said in high school the practices were more focused on running the routine many times and it was at a faster pace. On the college team, Gill-Davidge said it was a slower pace and the team focused more on endurance and strengthening.

Another difference was the college team doesn't have a coach, it's run by team captains, said Gill-Davidge.

"I feel there was more pressure at the practices on the high school dance team because the coach was watching you," said Gill-Davidge. "But being my first year on the college team, I didn't know what to expect so that was a little nerve-wracking."

Gill-Davidge, who is majoring in elementary education at St. Ben's, said being on the college dance team did not take away any of her time from her school work. In fact, she said it pushed her to do her homework on time.

Being in dance, Gill-Davidge said has helped her with time management, how to work with others and accept compromise and be supportive of others.

Gill-Davidge said during her school breaks she has helped with the BHS dance team. She said she also teaches two dance classes at the Just For Kix studio in St. Cloud.

Gill-Davidge said she also is interested in art, especially painting and drawing.

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