Titan Poms serve as role models
Glenbrook South Dances For Shot At A State Title
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:28AM
This past summer, Glenbrook South invited fifth-graders through eighth-graders to attend a camp and try out for a new Titan Poms all-star team. The response was staggering: 60 girls showed up to try out for 25 spots.
Dance team coach and all-star team director Julie Smith said that she asks the youngsters on their application why they want to join the all-star team. Their answer invariably is that they saw the high school dancers at a basketball or football game and fixated on someday joining the Titan Poms, who took fifth at the Class 3A state final in Bloomington on Saturday. Smith made clear to her high school students that they were more than dancers as a result; they were role models.
“They know how much these kids look up to them and think they’re like the princesses of the world,” Smith said. “I really reinforce that, first of all, they’re role models. Second of all, I think that by putting high school kids in those leadership positions, they learn about themselves, too. They learn from the little kids as much as the little kids are learning from them.”
Believing that high school students can benefit from leadership roles, Smith appointed senior Ellie Duerst as the all-star team’s coach and choreographer. Duerst took her coach’s message to heart.
“I would look at some of them and think that you remind me so much of how I was,” Duerst said. “I always looked up to the older girls on Poms and everything, so it’s just funny that I’m in that position now.”
Duerst said their excitement was evident from the program’s first day.
“They were all so excited and all so hyper,” Duerst said. “They all wanted to stand in the front, and I would tell them, ‘Okay, back up, let’s start stretching,’ and they just would stay there. They just wanted to be seen ... it was just funny seeing kids of that age already practicing for auditions.”
Interest has remained high, according to Smith, who said that she fields plenty of calls from parents eager to have their kids join the all-star team.
“Dance team is sort of up and coming in Glenview,” Smith said. “It’s always been here, but I think because the more technical we get and the more competitive we get as a team, I think it actually encourages more of the younger kids to participate because they want to be part of a team as well as dancing.”