Madison Nina (6) step dances

Hannah Katzke, Staff Writer

The art of step dancing — which uses footwork and body movement to create beats while dancing — is difficult to master, but Madison Nina (6) has fallen in love with the activity, she said. Specifically, Nina’s love for step dancing comes from the joy she finds in the style’s energy and effort.

This year, Nina decided to create a step dancing club in the school’s Middle Division (MD). Now, as the school has resumed in-person learning, she has been able to host a club meeting with its members: Marlowe Ross (6), Evelyn Gross (6), Kamedyne Rouse (6), Kaya Husain (6) and Maggie Duncan (6).

Gross is excited to study a new style of dance with the help of her friends in the club, she said. “My favorite part of the club is how we are a community and help each other learn new dances together.”

Ross is looking forward to learning more about step dancing from Nina and to the club’s expansion. “Madison is a great dancer and stepper, she is really skilled and a great and patient step teacher,” she said. 

Nina hopes that the club will teach its members a new skill and that its members will find the same joy in step dancing that she has found in it, she said. She also hopes to impact the school’s community by spreading knowledge of different styles of dance.

Nina has already been able to share her talent with her advisory this year. “I’d heard how great she was, and I had the good fortune to see Madison demonstrate her art in advisory one day and was blown away by her talent,” history teacher Della Brooks said.

Nina first started step dancing in third grade, when she took it upon herself to try a new activity, her mother, Kimberly Morales P’27 said. Morales was proud Nina was taking initiative and happy because step dancing was an opportunity to take on a new challenge, she said.

When Nina’s dance program ended in mid-2018, she started a dance group of her own with a few of her friends. They danced together from 2018-2019, creating their own choreography for their performances at local holiday events, Morales said.

While step dancing can be a solo performance, Nina has the ability to showcase many different beats at the same time when she performs with her team, Nina said. Her step team performed their step dances in front of their friends and family, she said. 

While Nina enjoys performing for an audience, her favorite aspect of step dancing is that it is a team effort, she said. “You are really building a community and you are allowing everyone to try something new with the help of other people.”

During her first performance, Nina was nervous that she would mess up her steps, she grew more comfortable and confident with each performance, she said. Nina is proud that she is now comfortable showing her step dancing to others and has even been able to teach her own team three new steps for a dance, she said.

“The thing I love most about watching her on stage is that you can tell she gives it her all each and every performance,” Morales said.

However, due to the pandemic, Nina and her club in the school have not been able to practice together in one room until this week, she said. Nina’s club transitioned to Zoom earlier this year, but it was difficult to practice due to lagging, Nina said. However, the club has made it a priority to make sure that everyone can learn the steps, she said.

Throughout her experience stepping, Nina has looked up to her coaches Molly and Kylie, she said. They have taught her to keep persevering even though learning the steps can be challenging, Nina said.

In the future, Nina hopes that she can expand past her regular performances in front of her advisory, friends, and family. Eventually, she would like to perform for the entire school one day, she said.