Strong Seniors Lead Dance Team

Two is better than one, especially if those two are experienced and dedicated to their sport.
Co-captains of the Marshfield Upbeats, seniors Hayley Engel and Ashley Peters carry a tough load of work and responsibility to their team. Engel and Peters found their roots in dance early on.

“I danced for a long time before I joined the team,” Peters said.

Like Peters, Engel had done dance long before her recruitment to the Upbeats. Both girls attended the Pacific School of Dance and had done similar kinds of dance.
“I danced on the middle school dance team and in the studio when I was little,” Engel said.

As captains, Engel and Peters work constantly, even cutting time from their personal lives to help out the team.

“We have captain duties, and that means getting home later than the other girls and being the first ones to practice and the last ones to leave,” Peters said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and lots of long hours after school. We work together with the team to produce something at the end of the year that we’re proud of.”

Engel and Peters not only serve as co-captains, but also as shoulders for their fellow teammates to lean on.

“It’s about putting the team before yourself and being there for everyone,” Engel said.

As seniors and involved students, Engel and Peters must focus their time between dance and their personal lives. Sometimes, however, the two overlap.

“It teaches you really good time management skills,” Engel said. “When I get home I don’t have time to do what I want to do. I have to hit the textbooks and shower and then go to bed and then do it all over again the next day. But it’s worth it, and I love it.”

Engel and Peters also lend a helping hand to dance team coach Debbie Brown. Along with leading practice, Engel and Peters must help with other required tasks sought by Brown.

“They are the dance team captains, and that means they are in charge of helping me with anything I need,” Brown said. “We don’t have managers so the captains help set up for practice, lead stretches, and critique parts of the dance.”

Engel and Peters also involve themselves in providing additional aspects, such as putting together more heartfelt events for team like Christmas parties and secret sister gift giving.

“They also organize more thoughtful things for the team,” Brown said.

With non-stop work and choreographing, the girls and Brown often find themselves constantly thinking about dance.

“Me, Hayley and Deb [Brown] are in dance mode every second of our lives,” Peters said. “It’s a lot of long hours after school. There’s school, then practice, then stuff after practice.”

Brown said the girls are both devoted to the team in every aspect, including following the rules she sets for them and the rest of the team.

“They are both so committed to the team, they love dancing and they have followed all of the rules I have set for the team,” Brown said.

Although they dance the same routine, Brown said the girls’ differing personalities are fluid with one another, each bringing out the best in the other.

“I think they’re both very strong dancers. They have different personalities that compliment them as far as dealing with the team and working with them,” Brown said.

Both Engel and Peters have shared interest in helping and supporting their fellow dancers. Brown said the actions of the girls indicate a true sense of sincerity.

“They both care about the girls on the team and I think their teammates can feel that they sincerely care about them and want what’s good for them,” Brown said.

Fellow dance team member junior Kaylee Krajcir said Engel and Peters have been a part of her life both in and out of dance.

“They’ve been with me my entire high school career,” Krajcir said. “They’re really good leaders combined, but individually they make a great team.”

Krajcir said she had been intimidated by the upperclassmen at first. However, Engel and Peters welcomed her and understood her concern.

“When I joined the team as a freshman, they were just one grade above me and had just been in my position, so I can relate to them easier,” Krajcir said. “They understood what I was going through.”

As for Engel and Peters, they said being role models comes easy.

“I feel really honored to be the person that the girls look up to,” Engel said. “I’m glad that it’s Ashley and I.”