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Athlete of the Issue: Kendall Reed

Kendall+Reed%2C+Div.866%2C+performing+with+the+Dance+Team+during+Pep+Rally+2017.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Selena+Kostic%29
Kendall Reed, Div.866, performing with the Dance Team during Pep Rally 2017. (Photo courtesy of Selena Kostic)

Kendall Reed, Div.866, performing with the Dance Team during Pep Rally 2017. (Photo courtesy of Selena Kostic)

Kendall Reed, Div.866, performing with the Dance Team during Pep Rally 2017. (Photo courtesy of Selena Kostic)

By Clarissa Corral, Managing Editor

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The bright shimmering light was shining down on the dance stage. It was a long day of competition at Maine East High School. Dancers performed different styles ranging from poms to lyrical to jazz. After the competition, the judges called up the top 10 teams to select one dancer with the best stage presence and overall dance performance. The winner of the Rising Star award was Kendall Reed, Div. 866.

“It was really exciting for me, being a dancer with no experience, because it was something that I didn’t think I’d be able to achieve,” Reed said.

This is Reed’s second year on the Dance Team. According to Reed, dance is something he has always been drawn to; as a child he used to dance around the house. With the encouragement of his friends, he decided to try out for the team at the end of his sophomore year.

“I just wanted to explore more types of dance and compete and be a part of a varsity team,” Reed said. “Dance is something that I’ve had such a great appreciation for and I just wanted to take it to the next level.”

Since then, Reed has taken a leadership role on the team by choreographing dance routines and filling in for an injured teammate throughout competition season during his first year on the team.

“He’s very dedicated, always gives 110 percent at practice, competition and games,” Dance Coach Natalie Mahler said. “He’s a really good leader—he likes to take everyone’s opinions seriously and he’s just really good at bringing the team together. He’s had a really good influence on everyone.”

Mahler was surprised when she discovered that Reed had no prior dance experience.

“I honestly thought that he had been trained because he had a lot of technique and skill, but he is pretty much self-taught and driven by himself to do these things, so I think that shows a lot,” Mahler said. “He always wants to get better.”

Reed decided to run for senior co-captain at the end of his junior year. He was granted the position based on majority vote from his fellow teammates, making him the first male captain on the team.

Reed’s fellow co-captain, Sheila McCormack, Div. 855, said that he is really good at making sure everyone feels welcome and keeping the team on track. McCormack had been on the team for two years before Reed joined and said that he has brought a fun atmosphere.

“I think he is a great addition to the team. Also, it shows other students in the school who are wanting to try out for the team that it’s OK if you’re a boy, everyone is welcome,” McCormack said. “It’s not just a girls’ sport.”

With the stigma of dance being a female-driven sport, Reed said that he felt a lot of judgment go around with being the only male on the team.

“The first year I struggled with what were people going to think, but as that year went on I felt more accepted by my team and more accepted by people around the school,” Reed said. “It kind of just goes away and you don’t even consider it anymore.”

With the support of his team, coaches and friends, Reed said he has been able to push through these boundaries and focus on the thing that matters most: his passion for dance.

“When I’m stepping onto a dance floor or on a stage, I just feel like all my stress goes away no matter what type of day I had,” Reed said. “Dance just boosts me up and there’s so many types of dance so there’s so many ways to express yourself through that, and that’s what makes dance enjoyable for me.”

Reed said that he hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams, whether it be dance or any other sports team.

“I know if I wouldn’t have joined, I would’ve always regretted my choice and said ‘what if,’ so don’t let that ‘what if’ make you worry,” Reed said. “I’d just say go for it because whether or not you make it, you don’t want to regret not trying.”

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Athlete of the Issue: Kendall Reed