Dancing on the “Dailey”

East senior Anna Dailey and her teammates prepare for their final season on the Lakota East dance team after years of hardwork and memories.


East senior Anna Dailey (front and center) waiting alongside her teammates for the music to begin at her “first last” competition of her high school career.

Kalla Saineghi



While practicing dance motions in her head for their upcoming dance competition East senior Anna Dailey sits in class and reflects, reminiscing on her past four years on the Lakota East Dance Team (LEDT). Dailey realizes that the upcoming competition is her last on the LEDT. As she progressed with her skills, her bonds with her teammates grew stronger.

Ever since she was a kid, Dailey had always dreamed of being on the LEDT– it was all she could think about as she danced competitively at Star Performance Center. As the older dancers on her team got to high school and tried out and made the dance team, it inspired her to do the same. 

“I decided to try out for the dance team because I had always been so impressed by their performances and wanted to be a part of that,” Dailey told Spark. “Also, many members of LEDT are also dancers at my competition studio, Star Performance, so it seemed like a great opportunity for me.”

In 2018 Dailey officially made the LEDT and says that she has never regretted it. Four years later, She is continuing her passion for dance and at school she loves.

On Oct. 24, LEDT won first place in the Hiphop division and was awarded the overall dance category at their Greater Midwest Cheer Expo (GMCE) dance competition. Being able to perform in front of people she loves, like she did at this competition, is one of the reasons Dailey loves being a part of the LEDT. 

“My favorite thing about being on the dance team is being able to perform in front of my friends and family at basketball games,” Dailey says. “The atmosphere is awesome and it is still so exciting for me, even after four seasons.”

LEDT head coach Amy Goldberg along with assistant dance coach Lindsay Razete started LEDT when Razete attended Lakota East. Razete enjoys coaching because she loves seeing her dancers grow. 

“I love being able to watch our dancers do what they love doing,” Razete told Spark. “It is so rewarding. I also love representing Lakota East.”

Dailey still gets nervous before she performs either at games or competitions. 

“Even though I have been able to experience lots of competitions in my time as a dancer, the start of each season still makes me a little bit nervous right before we go on stage,” Dailey says.

Dance team athlete East sophomore Sam Birdsong expressed how grateful he is to have a teammate like Dailey, who he says has been a great role model and friend. According to Birdsong, she always strives to make everybody, including herself, be the best that they can possibly be even if that means stepping out of their comfort zone.

“In my eyes Anna is not only a great friend, but a strong leader,” Birdsong told Spark. “She is always pushing herself and the people around her to do their best. Anna has inspired me so much to step out of my comfort zone and try new things when it comes to dancing.”

The LEDT has practices once a week on Wednesdays and additional practices as needed. The team added two four hour practices in order to learn choreography and work on the details of the routine to prepare for their first competition.  

At the GMCE competition, 20 LEDT athletes took the stage at Fairfield High School. They entered in the hiphop division as well as the gameday division. They competed against three teams in the Hiphop Division and six teams in the Gameday division. The Gameday division includes a band dance, cheer, chant, and  fight song. This was LEDT’s  first time doing Gameday Division.

“Dance has a Gameday division at the state level, which we intended to compete in and we’ve never done before,” Goldberg told Spark. “So we wanted to get practice and experience in that way.”

At the competition, Dailey ran onto the stage with a bright smile illuminating her face. She waved to the hundreds of  screaming fans in the stands. She looked over at her teammates and laughed.  This was her “first last” competition and she came to win. 

“Dancing on stage makes me feel so confident and it’s just so much fun. My teammates and I cheer each other on while we’re dancing and that is such a big motivator for me,”  Dailey says. “Walking off of the stage is always a moment where I’m finally able to catch my breath and see how everyone else felt about the performance. I think that we all left the stage feeling super proud of what we had done and that was an awesome feeling.”  

Universal Cheer Association (UCA) and Universal Dance Association (UDA) judge Carla O’Keefe was one of the many judges present at the GMCE competition.  

“As a judge, my goal is to provide helpful feedback so that teams can work on improving their routines throughout the competition season,” O’Keefe told Spark. “I also love seeing the unique choreography teams come up with year after year.”

The teams are scored on multiple factors that either make or break the routine. One of the many things the dance team took their time on was making sure every box would be completed to perfection

 “Although scoresheets will vary at each competition, there are several key components that go into scoring a performance,” O’Keefe says. “This includes the execution, synchronization, routine staging, choreography, creativity, difficulty of skills, communication or projection and overall impression.”

Dailey felt so much joy and relief winning first place with some of her bestfriends. All the hard work and dedication paid off and they were able to take home a victory. 

“Finding out that we had won first place was such a fun feeling to get to experience together,”  Dailey says. “I think that we all felt so much relief knowing that all our hard work paid off and we could take home the win for Lakota East.”

Like Daily, Birdsong was filled with excitement when he heard they got first place. Knowing that the late night practices and hours of choreography paid off made the moment so special for him. 

“When we were announced as first place, I felt so relieved that all of our hard work had paid off,” Birdsong says.

Goldberg was proud of the team and how hard they worked to achieve first place. 

“They did a great job. It’s been great to be able to see them actually get out there and do the things that they love,” Goldberg says. “We love that we were able to do [school] peprallies and that we’re now able to compete again and I think it’s going to be a really great year for them.”

Daliey was so ecstatic and overjoyed when she heard the announcer announce they had won not only one but also two awards, she was more excited about spending the rest of the season with her team. 

“I felt that personally, I did a good job at our competition,” Dailey says. “There is always room for improvement though, so I’m excited to see how I can get better in the next few months. I think that the team did a great job and we all had so much fun, which is more important than anything else. Senior year is so fun in itself and it’s awesome that I get to spend it with other members of the team.”