Kelsey Butler, in black, and Jasmin Alkema, in red, are directing this year's Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase, which will take center stage in January.

Photo by John F. Russell

Kelsey Butler, in black, and Jasmin Alkema, in red, are directing this year's Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase, which will take center stage in January.

Teen Style: High school students take on Dance Showcase challenges

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Jasmin Alkema talks with dancers after a rehearsal for this year's Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase.

What is Teen Style?

Teen Style is the work of Routt County middle school and high school students. The group meets a few times a month to decide on a theme, pitch story ideas and discuss articles for each edition. As a volunteer effort, the Teen Style staff will put out a collection of stories on a different theme once a month.

If you're a local middle or high school student and would be interested in writing for a future edition of Teen Style, contact Steamboat Pilot & Today reporter Margaret Hair at 871-4204, or e-mail mhair@steamboatpi...

— As January draws to a close, 82 high school girls will put on a stunning dance performance. The 13th annual Steamboat Springs High School Dance Showcase will be the culmination of nearly four months of hard work and daily practices.

In charge of it all are two Steamboat Springs High School students: Kelsey Butler, a junior, and Jasmin Alkema, a senior. These girls have undertaken the task of directing this year's showcase. Their many duties include: auditioning dancers, selecting pieces, organizing fundraisers, keeping track of each dancer's eligibility, helping choreographers, scheduling rehearsals and preparing the show. It's a lot of work, but these teen leaders manage.

"You just have to use every second of the day," Alkema said.

Responsibility for these directors is greater than it has ever been. They started the year without any teacher sponsor. In previous years, social studies teacher Kelly Erickson had a strong leadership role as a faculty adviser.

The two directors, as well as producers Chloe Petersen and Catie O'Brien, have taken over Erickson's leadership duties with little guidance.

"We don't have anyone who has done this in previous years walking us through this step-by-step. We have had to figure things out on our own," Butler said. "It has morphed into the four of us taking on the same role of being in charge of the performance."

The girls really have to take charge. They also need to be good public speakers, yet remain personable and easy to approach. This is important because, as Butler said, "We don't know all the girls, but we work with everyone."

When they realized that they could become the directors of dance showcase, Alkema and Butler decided to take up the task. Both girls have a love of dancing and wanted to play an important role in the showcase.

"I wanted to be a big part of the show, to do as much as I could for it, and I thought, 'What better way than to be a director?'" Butler said.

They also wanted the chance to share their creativity and gain leadership experience.

Alkema hopes to pursue a career in business administration, and she feels this experience is helping her learn to manage time and people. It is not without its challenges, and at times, it is hard not to stress out.

"There have been some overwhelming parts already, where we all want to tear our hair out. But it's been a good experience," she said.

Dance showcase practice is 17 hours a week, from mid-October until the late-January performance. Everyone involved puts in a lot of work, especially the directors, but they say it is worth it. They learn to take control, stay organized, express themselves, and dance.

As Butler put it, "I just really like to dance." And that, after all, is what it is all about.

Kayla Stack is a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School. This is her first year writing for Teen Style.

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