Lake Oswego’s dance team hosts annual Laker Dance Youth Clinic

Iris Breckenridge, Editor-In-Chief

Laker Dance hosted their annual Laker Dance Youth Clinic and performed that routine at halftime as well before the “Thriller” dance.

The youth clinic is a fundraiser the team does every year to raise money for Nationals every two years and has been ongoing since the early 2000s. The clinic is a one day, three hour camp where all kids from Pre-K to eighth grade are welcome. Coach Haley Dulong said, “[Kids] pre-K through second grade focus more on creativity, role playing, games and beginning movement. Third through fifth graders focus on intermediate movement and routines [and] sixth through eighth graders essentially attend a ‘Tryout Prep’ camp. They are able to work with Laker Dancers in the dance room on the technique we practice on the team.”

All the routines taught at the clinic are prepared by the seniors a week before, and the day of the clinic the kids are split by age and each group learns a different routine. This routine is the one that is performed in front of their parents, and additionally everyone learns the All Camp Dance to perform at halftime, which was choreographed by seniors Shea Ivey and Leyna Harman this year. 

As a long time part of the Laker Dance family, both Harman and Ivey attended the clinic when they were younger. “I used to go to the clinic when I was a kid since my sister was on the team and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Ivey said. Now as a member of the dance team she loves, “seeing how much the kids love to dance” and finds it “super fun teaching them new things!” Harman described her experience as well, and explained, “When I was younger I attended the youth clinic so many times! I was always so amazed by all the dancers on the team and it was something I looked forward to every year!”

As a choreographer this year Harman explained, “Since the camp dance was for all the grades we couldn’t make it super difficult because we knew that we were performing at halftime, but we also wanted to make it fun for everyone! It took us about an hour to choreograph the routine, and it was really fun because we got to take inspiration from camp dances from when we both attended the camps in the past!”

The dance clinic was a fun addition to the halftime show, and all the dancers and participants love it. “My favorite part is when we have the showcase for the parents because all of the kids get so excited and run to the front because they are so proud of the dances they learned.” Harman said. “It’s so cute and it always makes our team feel super accomplished with the Youth Clinic!” Additionally, Dulong said she loves “seeing all of the spunk and energy from our Pre-K through eighth graders. They just love dancing with us and it’s fun to see past Youth Clinic participants become future Laker Dancers.” With another successful Laker Dance Youth Clinic and “Thriller” performance, the Laker Dancers can’t wait to put on the clinic and perform “Thriller” again next year. Dulong said, “Thank you to the student body and administration for cheering us on!”