Senior Simonsis: Dancing in the Spotlight

Senior Simonsis: Dancing in the Spotlight

By: Chloe Shapkauski, BDTV228 Sports Multimedia Intern

An activity as exhausting as dance requires a great amount of passion to pursue. Fortunately, Tinley Park High School embraced their golden-ticket-opportunity four years ago when they selected freshman Alexa Simonsis as a member of their varsity dance team.

From excited newcomer to senior co-captain, Simonsis' dreams weren't always to become a dancer. In fact, her dreams as a performer didn't spawn until her eighth grade year. While the determined dancer originally joined a dance class at the age of five, she decided to test out other potential candidates for favored athletics and ended up dedicating most of her youth playing her bread and butter sport, soccer.

Later, in eighth grade, a different desire formed in the athlete. A flame was rekindled that hadn't flickered through her mind for quite some time. Dance once again was a focal point in life, a chance to start anew. With a plan suddenly clear, Simonsis dedicated her entire eighth grade year to vigorous practices. Learning the basics, self-encouragement, as well as a blind love for the art, led the zealous girl to achieve her sole goal: earning a spot on the Tinley Park High School Dance Team. Once her spot was secured, the real work began.

Simonsis' dancing conditioned her throughout practices and helped shape her as an athlete overall. When asked about the advantages of the dance team before her spring sport, Simonsis said, "Although soccer endurance is different from dance conditioning, it's still nice because my muscles have strength; I have something going into the season."

The pros of dance are Simonsis' only concern as she prefers the activity over all others. "It's newer to me. It's just something I enjoy more. Also, in dance, I hit more of my goals. I improve a lot more and that makes me feel good about it."

One of the factors of dance class that keeps Simonsis positive is her role model, a former captain of the team, Summer Thurman. Captain both her junior and senior year, Thurman inspired her teammates. "She was always improving so much, she could do everything." Not only did the Titan dance well, she connected the team emotionally. "When she left, it was not quite the same."

Even though the Titan team lost a leader when Thurman graduated, her influence on Simonsis shaped the team for the better. In fact, Simonsis had created a list during her sophomore year of the captain's teaching tactics. To this day, Simonsis keeps the team dynamic bubbly like her predecessor.

Shanderick Dorsey, 19, was near death and in a coma for two months, but his mother's faith saw him through and gave him a new lease on life.

Speaking of Tinley's team bond, Simonsis shared her relationship with the girls, "You get to immediately join into the team and feel close. It's hard to find such a tight group of girls." The team doesn't divide into age groups either, and Simonsis actively includes everyone regardless of their grade.

With the togetherness of the team, Simonsis will miss the relationships she formed the most. Evidently, the feeling is mutual as stated by Assistant Poms Coach, Mrs. Allison Jebens.

"She is positive, hardworking, determined, energetic, and caring. Alexa is extremely invested in our team, even though she has other interests and is a part of other teams here at Tinley Park High School.

She has helped choreograph dances, provide feedback to other dancers, and discuss ideas for this very strange season, such as how to make the most of it."

Once her high school dance career is finished, Simonsis plans on trying out for a college team. Also in college, she wants to be a dance minor, possibly to teach at a studio on the side.

Overall, Simonsis' dance journey is one full of smiles, friendships, and hard work. She will not be a forgotten personality of the Tinley Park High School Poms Team.

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