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The Drill: For Madison Shaffer, dance is an exhilarating challenge

Worthington High School dance team member Madison Shaffer loves everything about dance -- even the tough practices.

Madison Shaffer Worthington Trojettes Jazz dance competitor
Madison Shaffer Worthington Trojettes Jazz dance competitor<br/>
Tim Middagh / The Globe<br/>
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WORTHINGTON -- To many, dance team doesn’t appear to be like any other high school sports activity.

There are many reasons for that. Many fans don’t see dance teams perform on their own, but instead as entertainment at the halftimes of football and basketball games. Or at pep rallies.

But the honest truth is that dance team isn’t a sideshow, or a brief diversion, or anything of the kind. It’s practitioners partake in a sport that requires a kind of endurance, athleticism and coordination that football players might require years to master. Practices can be grueling, the repetitions exhausting, and the competitions are tense.

The Worthington Trojettes dance squad competes in competitions every year in jazz and high kick, but mostly they go quite a distance from Worthington for their meets -- to Olivia, Clara City and Montevideo, for instance. They had one meet scheduled this year in Worthington, on Jan. 10, which was blown away because of a snowstorm. Just one more time local fans weren’t able to stay close to home to see their Trojettes demonstrate the rigors of competitive dance.

Worthington dancers deserve some special attention this winter, especially. And that is why we chose high school senior Madison Shaffer to represent the squad in a Drill feature. Shaffer, who also participates in tennis and FFA, started dancing early, as she testifies.


“I’ve been in dance for 14 years. I started when I was 3 years old. It was difficult for me to pick up choreography in the beginning, but the more years I did it, it got easier to pick it up faster,” she said.

Madison is the twin sister of another Worthington High School dancer, Morgan Shaffer. Ironically, there is another set of twins on the team -- Calah and Ashley Riley.

When it comes to dance team, the Shaffer twins are huge supporters of each other. And they need to be. The better either of them perform, the better the team looks. And when any dancer twirls and jumps and poses in sync with teammates, dance is a thing of beauty.

To see the video of Madison Shaffer, go online at . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: How much work and sacrifice does it take to be competitive in dance?

ANSWER: “It takes a lot of work to be in dance, because you spend a lot of time in the studios and practice. I miss a lot of holidays and birthdays and stuff, to be at practice or to be at the studio. I spend about 14 hours practicing. I also dance at a studio three nights a week, about four hours a week at the studio. To spend that much time practicing, you really have to enjoy what you’re doing.”

QUESTION: What would you say to people who think dance isn’t like a real sport?

ANSWER: “I definitely disagree with that. Other sports just don’t understand how much work we really do put in. You have to have a lot of stamina. Because if you don’t have the stamina, you are not going to make it through that dance.”


QUESTION: Do you have a memorable story to tell? Something that you’ll never forget, something that will stay with you?

ANSWER: “I’d say the most memorable part for me, something that will stick with me for dance team, was making the varsity jazz team. Because I worked really hard to be on that team. I had wanted to be on that team since I was in the seventh grade, and I got on it when I was a freshman. I worked really hard those two years. And then, the feeling I got when I got it, I was so happy. I went home and I told my parents and they were so proud.”

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Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
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