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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


Fillies dance their way into another competition season

Ivy Bloomfield
The Fillies smile on the sideline, dancing at the DGS vs. Leyden home football game.

Glittering uniforms and shiny poms, the Fillies turn in coordination, all 18 dancers in sync. Stage lights shine on the dancers as they flip upside down in ariels and partner tricks. The crowd screams, cheering them on.

The DGS dance team, also known as the Fillies, leaped and spun their way into sixth place at the IHSA Dance State Championship last year. Now, they are back for another season of competition dance.

The coach, Dawn Jovic, has been coaching for 19 years after being a Fillie herself. All the Fillies look up to her, having glittering reviews of her coaching style. Avery Bishop, a sophomore on Fillies, had many good things to say about her.

“She is very positive, and is a huge motivator. She is great at giving insight but also allowing some decisions to be made by the team and the captains so we can have some independence and creativity,” Bishop said.

Jovic has noticed that the bond between the Fillies is uniquely special. One of the Fillies’ greatest strengths is the relationships they build with one another. It’s one of the reasons the team is so successful.

“I think they are mostly returning girls so the bond has just gotten stronger and they are good at adopting new members and making them part of the family,” Jovic said.

The captains Lauren Miranda and Michaelina Spando are leading the team this year.

“They’re great. They have both been on varsity since they were freshmen so they are used to it and they are very driven to be successful… They are very useful at correcting their teammates in a really nice, pleasant way,” Jovic said.

These captains exemplify what it takes to be a varsity dancer. Dance is often looked at from the outside as simple, but it’s because truly good dancers make it look easy. Bishop believes that dance is harder than it appears.

“People don’t understand that all the technique and skills are very hard. You have to learn how to be controlled and even work outside of practice,” Bishop said.

Because dance is so hard, Jovic believes a good dancer has to exemplify unique and motivated personality traits in addition to dancing talent.

“I think that you have to be very self driven… and you can’t be afraid to make mistakes because it’s going to look bad at first for a long time before it looks good, and you just have to have a passion for it,” Jovic said.

The Fillies are just now entering their long-awaited competition season, following football season where they performed self- choreographed dances at halftime.

Football season under the Friday night lights is filled with spirit and cheering, while competition season is made up of stage lights and a hunger for success.

Despite each season being separated in time, to be successful in competition, the work begins from the very start. Bishop explained that the Fillies need to train for their competitions in summer to stay ahead of the curve.

“We start choreographing in the summer, and work on our technique all year. Football season also really helps us build connections on our team that help us during competition time,” Bishop said.

The Fillies’ state result last year put them on the map, and now pressure is on this season. The record breaking success the Fillies achieved has made them a team to beat, and their hunger for achievement now weighs on them.

“[The team] definitely feels like there are more eyes on them this year,” Bishop said.

“We are definitely using the pressure of last year as a motivator… even if we don’t live up to the expectations I think we will all still be satisfied because we are working and training really hard,” Jovic said.

The dance team this year has 23 dancers, and performs two dances at each competition, taking only the best-scoring dance to state. Each dance has a different set of alternates so that everyone gets a chance to compete.

As their upcoming competition approaches, the Fillies are working hard to perfect their new routines. One main challenge ahead is perfecting their technique and difficulty skills.

“We want to floor some big skills we have never floored before, which is intimidating because if those skills aren’t clean we don’t get points for them. There are no points for trying,” Jovic said.

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