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The Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

My favorite sidekick

by Shelley Bennett

Hello Good Stuff readers! I’ve been absent awhile and am not sure where to start today! First of all, I had a total hip replacement earlier in February and it has taken me some time to get back in the swing of things.

The support from friends and family has been overwhelming. Leo was a good nurse, doling out pain meds, ice packs, and hydrating drinks. He also made me get up and walk, which I didn’t always want to do, but am glad I did.

I am so thankful for the meals, flowers, texts, and encouraging notes. It really did help with my healing.

One thing that really made a difference was having Jo Forsyth cover my classes while I was out. With her kind but firm manner, she was the perfect replacement to keep my seniors on track to graduation.

After a month I was back at work and two weeks later, the Grizzliettes made their second trip to the USA Dance Nationals competition in Anaheim.

Our Kick group gets ready for the floor

Our Grizzliettes were calm and professional as they warmed up and got ready for their performance in the Kick category. They goofed around a little, laughed, and helped each other with last minute clarifications.

Then they walked out on to the floor as I stood at the sound table ready to start their music. This is always the most nerve-wracking task! I saw a meme that said, “Behind every dancer is a dance teacher standing in the wings with a stomach full of butterflies and a heart full of pride” and that describes me to a tee.

They were beyond amazing! In pink bodysuits and black dance pants, they executed the routine choreographed by captain Renee Delgado to perfection. They were sharp and crisp with the sassiest of facials.

The next day was Military and Hip Hop. Military, with its intense music and dramatic facials, was a whirlwind of precise arm movements, transitions into multiple formations, and styles of marching. Hip was much the same, but with hard hitting moves, musicality, and intricate footwork.

Practicing intense facials for Military

At these competitions, you receive audio files from the judges. These critiques are often filled with feedback on how your team can improve, but these are full of compliments. One in particular, from a coaching friend who has watched my team over the years, said quite simply, “Lassen, I am so proud of you.”

I was too. And I hope that each dancer was proud of themselves and the work they put into making that performance their best. From the beginners, who worked to make their mark on the team, to the more experienced members. who provided stability and consistency, to our captains, who taught and cleaned the routines and provided leadership and motivation.

Later, we found out that we won 2nd place in both the open Kick and open Small Military divisions. There was lots of cheering, hugging, and celebrating. It was definitely gratifying to have their hard work rewarded.

Celebrating a 2nd place finish for Military

More importantly, the skills they developed will carry on into other areas of their lives. When they go off to college or into the workforce. As they continue to dance on a team, in a studio, or just for fun.

The friendships they forged will last longer than the trophies. And someday, when they hear that song on the radio they will be taken back to this time when everything was right in their world.

Back row: Addy, Renee, Madi, Kylee, Julienne, Parker, Sofia, and coach Shelley Front row: Brianna, Grace, Hailey, Kaylee and Cori A well-deserved break in the Happiest Place on Earth

Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to [email protected] and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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