Junior Samantha Grover won’t be working in her hometown of Otsego, Minn., this summer. Instead, she’ll travel the country instructing dance for the renowned Universal Dance Association.
The opportunity arose when Grover and fellow St. Thomas dance team teammates attended their annual summer camp, which was held in Milwaukee, Wis., this year, put on by the UDA.
After learning a dance, judges critiqued each individual dancer while they executed the group routine. Judges can ask select dancers to apply for summer staff positions once they evaluate dancers’ abilities and score all the teams.
Grover said the opportunity to travel and instruct high school dancers for the UDA is exciting.
“I’m really, really, really excited just because dance is something I love to do,” Grover said. “To get paid to do it is pretty, pretty awesome.”
After filling out an application, Grover waited to hear back if she had an audition. Upon receiving an email that notified her that she advanced to the next round, Grover auditioned to showcase her dancing and teaching abilities. To top off the application process, Grover interviewed with organization officials.
St. Thomas dance team coach Alysia Ulfers said the instructing position is one that will refine Grover’s skills outside of dance.
“I think she’s going to gain a lot,” Ulfers said. “She’s going to gain a lot of great lessons. Not only that she can continue to apply to her dancing … but I think she also is going to leave with another sense of independence.”
Ulfers said Grover’s summer job experience will help put St. Thomas dance back on the map.
“To be able to have Sam go out there in front of all these high school campers around Minnesota, especially the Midwest, representing our team for one thing is really great,” Ulfers said. “I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity for her, it’s going to be eye opening and just a chance to build her confidence.”
With the UDA offering “highest standards, the finest instructors, the best choreographers and the most exciting and innovative routines,” instructors are to be of the highest quality.
Teammate senior Samantha Maroney said Grover’s coaching style will be a good addition to the UDA staff.
“She has always done a great job of teaching and being straightforward, getting their attention right away,” Maroney said.
Teammate freshman Jackie Schneider said she is glad Grover accepted the position.
“A lot of people are interested, and they never really go through with it,” Schneider said. “It’s really cool that Sam decided to actually go through with it and has gone through the whole process and is now going to be a staff member.”
Grover said this experience is coveted in the dance world.
“I just really feel like it’s going to open up a lot of doors for me within the dance world because they are an international company,” Grover said. “The longer you are with them, the more opportunities you do get within their association.”
With the 2013-2014 season on the horizon, Maroney said Grover’s UDA position will help her to be a strong leader for the Tommie dancers without being one of the team’s captains.
“She’ll have words of wisdom that are irreplaceable, she always has,” Maroney said. “I think she’ll just excel overall.”
Sean Crotty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.