ROCHELLE — Many of the dancers at Rochelle Township High School started with the Rochelle Junior Tackle dance program as grade-schoolers and middle-schoolers. While the football players and cheerleaders are working hard to prepare for the 2019 season, the dancers are also practicing multiple times each week to showcase their skills.
Fifteen dancers across three teams (fifth grade, sixth grade and seventh-eighth grade) will take the field and perform during Rochelle Junior Tackle games this season. Each team has the help of current and former RTHS dancers including Tatianna Contreras, the daughter of dance program coordinator Tonia Holland. Contreras will be continuing her dance career at North Central College this coming year.
“Watching the performances come together is a lot of fun,” said Contreras, who will coach the fifth and sixth-graders this season alongside Taylor Kreider (sixth grade) and Jessie Vagle (fifth grade). “The girls get to be part of a team and they learn a lot from each other. The program also helps the girls make new friends.”
The combined seventh-eighth grade team, coached by RTHS dancers Erin Decker and Kayla Keilman, includes Gabby Davis, Kennedy Smith, Alexis Huerta, Kayla Ortega and Kaylee Lidren. The sixth-graders feature Mariah Reyes, Jennifer Gonzalez, Cammyla Macias, Jaicee Ramos and Aracely Rios. The fifth-graders will field Kami Damask, Gracie Sitter, Dylan Etes, Sawyer Stockton and Izabel Dorwaldt.
“The girls learn some of the ways the high school girls practice and prepare for their routines,” Contreras said. “They spend a lot of time in practice working on their dance moves.”
The Junior Hubs will host Dixon for their home opener on Saturday, Aug. 17. Rochelle closes out the season with three straight home games against Winnebago, Oregon and Kewanee on Sept. 14, 21 and 28.