Shine Bright Like A Sapphire

Shine Bright Like A Sapphire

Haley Stephenson

This year the Sapphires have introduced a new clinic designed to help those wanting to tryout work on the skills needed to become a Sapphire. On Sunday, November 20, those passionate about dance made their way to the Cokely fieldhouse to work on what it takes to be a Sapphire.

“We just had a lot of girls asking for a summer camp or who wanted to learn more about the program,” coach Maggie Willis said. “So we thought that this might be more beneficial during the school year when they aren’t on vacation, we just wanted to provide the opportunity.”

Anyone from grades 6-11 was welcome to sign up for a fee of $40, which included a shirt. Most experienced Sapphires agreed the clinic would be beneficial to those looking to try out.

“I think the purpose of the clinic was just to help the girls calm their nerves for tryouts,” Willis said. “We’re proud of our program and we want kids to be successful throughout the tryout process so I think this gives them time to see what elements we want them to work on. From there they have several months to work on that, and we can see all of their hard work when they come back for tryouts.”

Nationally ranked Sapphires and coaches were there to guide the dancers through what they’re looking for in a future Sapphire.

“They were doing different sections so people were doing across the floor, pom and hip hop station,” freshman Danielle Roepke said. “That’s what I did, there were three of us and we did a little combination and help them prepare for what is going to go on at tryouts.”

These experienced individuals were not only looking to ensure the upcoming Sapphires are prepared to be thrown into the world of practice, routines, crowds and competition. They’re looking for their ability to improve based on instruction.

“We’re looking for willingness to adapt to your surroundings, you just have to realize that if you don’t know something, you just need to ask,” junior Alexa Smith said. “Watch, absorbing everything around you really helps, just so that you can blend and get an idea of how things operate.”

The transition from dancing in a studio to dancing competitively can be hard on some new Sapphires and the experienced dancers are working to ensure that the transition goes as smooth as possible for all new members.

“It was interesting and difficult transitioning from eighth grade cheer and having it not really be as important to me, to being a varsity Sapphire,” sophomore Chloe Balsdon. “It was kind of intense and scary with all of the seniors and other varsity members, but I managed.”

Senior Taylor Stufflebean, who has been a Sapphire since freshman year, is working to help new Sapphires on their transition.

“It’s different, it’s a different style that you have to get your body used to,” Stufflebean said. “But the program is great, not just for dancing. You learn about responsibility and being prepared and organization as well as being confident in yourself too. Other than dance, it has prepared me in that way. I’ve learned so much in the four years that I’ve been in the program.”

Stufflebean speaks on what sets the Sapphire’s apart from studio dance.

“We work really hard and we always want to do our best,” Stufflebean said. “So we treat everything like it is our biggest performance over, or a competition. We always want to do the best that we can and show our community that we really do work hard.”