As M-A Dance Team show nears, four seniors look back on their four years

by Rebecca Bloom on March 31, 2015

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One of the spring entertainment treats is the annual Menlo-Atherton High School Dance Team Show and Fundraiser, which will happen this year on April 4 and take place in the M-A Performing Arts Center at 6:00 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm). Coached by Nona Ybarra and Kate Lynn Roberts, the Team will display its abilities in hip-hop, jazz, lyrical, tumbling, ballet and more.

Students, families and fans of dance always enjoy this show, and all event proceeds go towards team expenses for competitions, camps and uniforms. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Dance Team members or by emailing MADanceTeamShow@gmail.com. They cost $12 for adults and $7 for students. This event has often sold out, but if any tickets are still available they can be purchased at the door for $15. Delicious baked goods and drinks will also be for sale at this wonderful, family-friendly event. But this year, that’s just part of the story.

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Four remarkable dancers (right to left in photo) — Devon Smith, Miranda-Alfano Smith, Caroline Hayse and Samantha Gaston — will be making their final appearances as M-A Dance Team members. The “Fab Four” have been devoted to the team through four years of high school and have contributed hugely to mentoring younger dancers, boosting the morale of M-A football and basketball teams, and creating a positive, inclusive climate.

Here’s what they have to say about their experience.

Samantha Gaston: “Dance Team has become a home away from home. It has allowed me to find a place in high school — a place to belong. It’s my rock, my family, and my passion.”

Her advice for younger team members: “Live the best life possible. So often we get caught up in getting perfect grades, being the perfect athlete, the perfect person, etc. The truth of the matter is that not a single thing on this planet is perfect and striving for perfection isn’t worth it!”

What others say about Samantha: “Samantha is creative, selfless, compassionate, self-motivated, helpful, full of integrity. She’s the queen of braids and hairstyles!”

Caroline Hayse: “Dance Team has been like a family to me during my four years at M-A. It is always so fun to go to practice and perform with a group of amazing girls who are nice, funny, and very supportive.

Her advice for younger team members: “Enjoy every moment on dance team because it is such a special experience and always keep a positive attitude even when practices get hard.”

What others say about Caroline: “Caroline is an unflappable, loyal, generous role model. She’s always looking out for others.”

Miranda Alfano-Smith: “I love having danced with the same girls for four consecutive years. The sense of family I have with the girls is wonderful. I’m going to cherish the bonds I’ve made with them forever. They are my best friends and I can go to them for anything.”

Her advice for younger team members: “Work hard and study hard, but don’t overwhelm yourselves. It is key for teens to put themselves first and make sure they are still happy and healthy. Also, stay open to meeting new people, because some of the best friendships are made with people you wouldn’t expect it from.”

What others say about Miranda: “Miranda is remarkably intuitive and kind. She is sassy, powerful, strong, caring, hard working, smart and dedicated.”

Devon Smith: “M-A Dance Team has given me a home and identity in high school. It gave me the wings to fly and figure out who I am. I learned numerous lessons from the older girls and made irreplaceable bonds with the ones my age.”

Her advice for younger team members: “Enjoy every single moment in high school. It will fly by in the blink of an eye.”

What others say about Devon: “Devon is passionate, optimistic, witty, diligent, loyal, compassionate and friendly. Her energetic nature makes her a natural leader.”

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