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Dance Team Goes to Nationals

By Talina Sepulveda

As the weekend ended, we welcomed back our Graceland Gadets dance team, who recently placed 7th at Nationals for the first time. We are so proud of the achievements the team has accomplished this season. The dancers did an outstanding job representing the school alongside Coach Katerina Albertson. As a first-year coach, Albertson has worked hard to develop and grow the dance program. 

Albertson, also known as Coach Kat, attended school at Central Michigan University where she was a member of the dance team. She has been dancing since she was two and is passionate about the sport and the community it brings. Her choice to come to Graceland involved the potential to build and develop a team and make it a thriving community, which she had done quite successfully. 

Albertson believes, “The success of any team falls to the beliefs and values that the leader of the program instills."

Bryce Clausen, co-captain of the Gadets, states “This season has been our best yet, thanks to Coach Kat's ability to foster a strong team culture. We set goals and relentlessly work together until they're achieved.”  

In asking the dancers what kind of coach Albertson is, the dancers all had similar praise. She is fun-loving, which creates a safe loving environment, but when it comes down to business Albertson does what needs to be done. She pushes the team to be as dedicated as possible and persevere to reach their goals together. 

Albertson prides herself on fostering strong connections with her dancers.  

“I’ve been able to connect with my team members. I think we have built strong relationships, and they know they can come to me and I'm here to support them in any way they need.”  

Albertson and dancers have the same collective goal; “I'd like to see the team just continue to improve each year. I would love to see Graceland University become a dance destination, where dancers from all over want to come be a part of the team because of the way we continue to get better and build upon past success while enjoying the ride along the way!”  

The dance team is not yet done with their season. Next week, the Gadets will compete at the College Classic nationals in Orlando, Florida. 

In closing, here are some words of wisdom from the legend herself, Coach Kat. 

“Keep pushing! It's easy to get discouraged with dance because you feel the need to be perfect, but the most important piece is not to give up and keep believing in yourself. Also, make sure to assess team culture when you're visiting schools. You want to be a part of a team that uplifts you, pushes you in a positive way, and where you feel genuinely supported. You'll spend a lot of time with your teammates and coaches, it needs to be a great fit for everyone involved.” 

The Graceland community is so proud of the strong family built into the athletic department, and, with the wonderful addition of Coach Kat, we will continue to thrive as a school, a community, and as a family. 

Photos provided by Carleigh O'Dell

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