Students staff come together for Just Plain Dance

GlenOak teacher Matt Brown dances as part of the Super Trouper theme dance on Saturday night.

One night a year, Plain Local School’s teachers take the stage in a fierce dance competition to raise money for the Plain Local Schools Foundation and Alumni Association.

This Foundation was established in 1989 to support the community and give back to the educational programs in the district. 

On Jan. 28, teachers from across the district performed a dance representing their school. These performers have spent countless hours learning dances that were choreographed by the Level III dance students at GlenOak High School. The choreographers were overseen and directed by Jacquenette Blaydes.

“The girls need organizational skills, people-skills to get along with adults, students, and the director, time-management skills, creativity to think outside of the box, and dedication to see the process through,” Blaydes said.

Teachers were asked to sign up to participate and commit to multiple practices a week outside of school hours. They had to learn quickly how to challenge themselves and work together as a team. 

All of the choreographers were evaluated at practices and in class to get a grade on what could be improved and adjusted. The high school team’s choreographer was Giana Nakoul.

“Our team has come a long way trying to impress Giana with our dancing skills. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Jessica Broa said.

Nakoul worked to create the team’s dance and learned how to take charge in a group situation with adults as a student directing them. She had to be able to manage the team as a solo choreographer and create a dance with a variety of members with different skill sets.

“It’s been challenging to establish a leadership position, since I am a student trying to direct adults on how to do things,” Nakoul said. “I’ve had to put myself out there and make it clear I know what I am doing with the dance.”

Oakwood Middle School had a team of teachers come together to represent their school at the show as well. Their team’s choreographers were Jada Ames and Malcolm Morgan.

Their team was larger, with 15 teachers involved featuring a pep rally themed dance. This was up beat with a variety of different skills showcased in the dance. It required a lot of dedication from the teachers to be able to perfect it. The teachers worked on their own time after school everyday to get it where they wanted. 

Not only did the teachers learn how to do new things they’ve never done before but it also teaches the student choreographers a variety of lessons. “It helped me become a better dancer because I better understand timing and counts now,” Ames said. “It really helped me with organizing my time.”

A new addition to the competition this year was the Bus Garage team. Their team’s choreographer was Isabella Ramey. The Bus Garage team started later than many of the other teams, which set up for a challenge of getting caught up. 

The theme of this dance was James Bond inspired. During the dance they used flashlights as a prop, while the stage lighting was dimmed to illuminate the lights they held. 

“My favorite memory was celebrating full 10s with my team and seeing them become more confident and empowered,” Ramey said.

All this hard word came together last Saturday night when Oakwood Middle School was crowned the winner of Just Plain Dance.  They won the fan favorite and the most money raised with over $3000 collected. 

The event left teachers dancing their way into the night and audience members with smiles on their faces. 

In total the fundraiser brought in over $15,000 that will benefit the arts programs in the district.