Dance team hits the football spotlight
12/7/12 Wilmette Lynn Bocinsky and Stephanie Dorsey with the Wilmette Junior High dance team at their rehearsal Friday, Dec. 7. The team has been chosen to perform in the Russell Champs Bowl in Orlando this year. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 2:16PM
WILMETTE — “Remember to smile,” Stephanie Dorsey encouraged her Wilmette Junior High School dance team earlier this month, as they went through their routine.
Nearby, Lynn Bocinsky kept a judicious eye on the timing of each high stepping row of girls.
Dorsey, an eighth-grade teacher, and Bocinsky, a WJHS physical education instructor, both grinned in satisfaction as students completed the piece. The students grinned back, and then everyone got back to work. It was Dec. 7 and the team was on a mission.
On Dec. 26 it heads to Orlando to help enliven the Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl football game’s half-time show. It’s the second time WJHS has sent a team bowl-ward – Bocinsky and Dorsey took one to the Liberty Bowl in 2010 – but it’s new to the effervescent and slightly winded dancers who took a break from practice to talk about the pending trip.
Between then and game day they had to learn a nine-minute routine provided by show runners. That’s a challenge, not only because of the short time, but because the dance involves rather less precision and rather more hip-shaking than Dorsey and Bocinsky incorporate into their regular routines – both women were polite and substituted “jazzy” for the more dismissive adjective they first used.
The 7th and 8th grade team members were more enthusiastic. They’re already used to a tough daily practice schedule and the mandate of keeping their grades up; dancing with unbound hair (“There’s a ton of hair whipping” eighth-grader Camille Graham admitted) while humming “Eye of the Tiger” is eminently doable, they suggested during the break. There are rewards, after all.
“The doughnuts are good motivation,” eighth-grade student Nora Day joked about being ready to rehearse before 7 a.m. a couple of times every week.
Oh, and there are the costumes to consider. Blue, sparkly costumes that make the wearer look like a mermaid, the girls assured a listener, and there is red, sparkly lipstick to be applied.
Despite their terpsichorean doubts, Dorsey and Bocinsky – almost as energetic as the two dozen girls they coach, and certainly as bubbly – were passionate about the dance team they have both coached for several years. Whether they talked about its regular gigs (WJHS sports and DePaul basketball games, the latter courtesy of Bocinsky’s DePaul connections), education philosophy, Bowl preparations or the pride they have in the kids, their excitement was palpable.
“A lot of people think about athletics and how that is part of education,” Dorsey said. “Well, this is, too. These kids are friends, they have learned to work as a team, they are disciplined, hard workers. They’re a family.”
And this year, it’s a family looking forward to showing how much fun they can have in the spotlight.