When Shannon Anthony was hired by Golden Valley High School to teach honors English in 2010, she could not have foreseen that within three years she would lead the Santa Clarita Valley’s newest dance team to the National Championship.
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While the SCV and the William S. Hart Union High School District can boast several nationally recognized teams, including Valencia High School, which Anthony described as “the team to beat,” Golden Valley had never had a dance team before.
“It originated as a hip hop club, and they needed an advisor for it,” Anthony said. “And though I was already involved in teaching English and doing the honors program for ninth grade only, I decided to go ahead and pick that up, so that the next year we could roll it into a dance team.”
Anthony, who has numerous years of experience in gymnastics, cheerleading and dance, said the biggest struggle at first was getting the girls to take the team seriously — to treat it as a sport, and not just a physical education alternative or an opportunity to hang out with friends.
“It was incredibly difficult. Initially, it was an incredibly small group of girls that only wanted to do hip-hop, only with their friends, only their way, which wasn’t necessarily the most appropriate way. They’re only exposure to dance was them watching hip hop videos on MTV,” she said.
They were faced with numerous challenges during those first two years, winning no competitions the first year and only winning two routines during the second year.
But this year, Anthony said that they started training earlier and harder.
“The girls were realizing that they had to become athletes,” she said. “That was the main switch that happened this year — that they went from ‘We’re a P.E. class that dances and sometimes goes outside and does stuff’ to ‘we’re athletes and we’re going to win.’”
All that hard work paid off, she said.
The team competed in several West Coast Elite regional competitions this year, including the one at Royal Valley High School, which qualified them for the March 2013 USA Dance/Drill Nationals.
“I don’t think I’d ever imagined us going to nationals and taking a title in only three years,” Anthony said. “No one really ever plans on having that happen. I have to say that the reason why we have that is I have an incredibly dedicated, hard-working group of girls that is very passionate.”
Going forward, the team hopes to continue to build their basic skills, as well as adding an additional routine and maintaining their national title.
Anthony also wants to build an all-male dance team, which would be the first in the district.
To learn more about the Golden Valley High School Dance Team, visit their website, here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News