Hip-hopping to Yakima

Kettle Falls Dance Team a rarity in Class BIt is rare for a small school like Kettle Falls High to compete in dance and drill. But Kettle Falls High not only has its first-ever team, but the Bulldogs will compete March 24 at the (all divisions) State Tournament in the Yakima SunDome on March 24.The team is coached by Carolyn Green.Team members include Annissa Phipps, Brandy Rippon, Jennifer Konovalov, Corina Hammond, Jamee McIntosh, Ana Rios, Jessica Rennich, Desirae King, Anna Cook, Allie Stillwell, Bailey Nailor, Hannah Kaste, Nichole Reddeman, Cayla Hammond, Ashley Lambert, Lexy Schoessler, Tasia Miland, Breanne Flowers, Alex Gleason, Cadence Halliday and Marty Flesher.KFHS qualified for a trip to Yakima, where they will compete in the Hip-Hop division, compiled a 210-point total at the district meet in Spokane to qualify for State. State boundFrom the team’s first competition where they scored 180 points, to their recent Spokane State qualifying score, Kettle Falls has come a long way as a cohesive Hip-Hop unit—in a very short period of time.Yes, with hard work and an instructor who has been dancing about as long as she’s been walking, anything is possible. “We were able to take third place at both the West Valley and Shadle Park Invitationals,” Green said of team competitions in Spokane against veteran, big school outfits “That was incredibly exciting. We knew we had a lot of work to do (after an early score of 180). At Shadle Park, we increased our score to 208 to qualify for District…the girls were so excited.”Suddenly, a State trip was well within their reach. And the goal was achieved earlier this month back in Spokane when a state-qualifying standard was reached.Green is the obvious impetus behind the team and its first-year success. A dancer since the age of three, Green started competing when she was seven at a Spokane dance studio. A member and team captain of her school dance team at Mead High School, Green continued her love of dance at Washington State University, where she was a member of the Crimson Girls dance team and taught dance around the West Coast with the United Spirit Association. She also taught classes at a Pullman dance studio while in college.When you’re a dancer—you’re a dancer. You can’t get enough. When she got a job in small district Kettle Falls last year, it was only natural for Green to want to continue with a life-long love and passion. Big interest“When I started teaching at Kettle Falls last year, there was a big interest in dance among our students,” she said. One thing led to another and KFHS Principal Jim Hill suggested that a dance class be added to the second semester schedule. The class was a hit and it was time to stretch the imagination a little.“We had so much fun in the class that we decided to test the waters for an after school program,” Green said of what seemed like a natural progression to that initial interest. “We got a great response there so Jim (Hill) figured out a way to make it all work.”Tryouts were held in June 2011 and the first Kettle Falls High School dance team was selected.Green has enjoyed sharing her love of dance and being able to establish a dance team at Kettle Falls. But with school budgets the way they are, the future of the dance team is anybody’s guess at this point.“It’s hard to say with budgets the way they are,” Green says, adding, “our community, administrators and school board have been so supportive of our team this year. “I know I have an awesome group of girls that is committed to dancing as long as they are able to.”At present, Green does all the choreography, although she says her goal is to see team members work into that role and responsibility eventually.“My goal is that should we have the opportunity to continue the program in the future, our team members would gradually take on more responsibility for choreography,” Green said last week. “I had the opportunity to do that as a captain, and it was an incredible learning opportunity.”People have taken notice of Kettle FallsThe Kettle Falls Dance Team is something of an anomaly. They are the smallest school that competes in its district, but the Bulldog dancers field one of the largest teams.Small school—major interest.“The other coaches couldn’t believe it when they heard that we were a Class B school,” Green said, adding that there are Class 3A schools in Spokane that have trouble filling teams of 16. Kettle Falls has 21 dancers on its fledgling team.“That is so important because it gives them a real presence on the floor,” Green added.Kettle Falls will likely be the only Class B school competing at the State tournament. KFHS will compete in the 1A/2A division.