FLOYDS KNOBS, Indiana — The Mt. Juliet High School dance team captured the regional champions with a with a first-place finish in the hip hop division at the Dance Team Union (DTU) regional competition, which was held on Saturday at Floyd Central High School.
The squad also placed second in the spirit showdown division at the DTU Louisville competition.
It is believed to be the first time that the Mt. Juliet dance team has ever won a competition at any level.
“I have been watching this team for the last three years,” Mt. Juliet High dance coach Kelly Schmidt said. “Something just kept pulling me in the direction of wanting to make it so much more. There was so much talent to work with. I was confident they could be true competitors.
“Dance has always been a passion for me and what brings me joy. I really wanted to help others feel that same passion and joy. I knew these girls had it in them to get to the next level. There was no push back when we set the bar higher. They are all so passionate and were ready to work.”
Schmidt and her daughter, Brooke Legens, are the new Mt. Juliet dance team coaches.
Legens has danced for more than 25 years, starting at age 10 in Dallas, Texas. It was at that time she decided that she wanted to dance in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and worked hard to obtain that goal. She won several national titles, as well as several other awards through her studio.
At 18 years of age, she reached her goal and became the youngest dancer for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks dance team. Throughout that time, she taught dance and danced overseas. She retired from the NBA in June of 2018 to start a family and now states that she has been blessed with the opportunity to fulfill another dream of being a coach.
“I have always dreamed of one day coaching a high-school and college dance team,” Legens said. “I had so many coaches that believed in me and pushed me beyond my limits so that I could be prepared and accomplish all of my dance dreams. I needed those coaches more than anything, so having the opportunity to be that figure for other girls is really a full-circle moment for me.
“My passion was once being the performer — and still is — but now, it’s even moreso, leading young adults and teens to accomplish those same dreams by coaching them, preparing them, pushing them and making them believe in themselves more than anyone.”
Schmidt added, “I love how one of their biggest desires was to bond as a team. I wanted them to really love being on this team and create wonderful memories of high school. They really just want to be leaders in the school and be recognized as true dancers and competitors. I am hoping we can help them achieve their goals and give them something to be proud of.”
Over the past couple of years, the Mt. Juliet dance team did not have the opportunity to dance at the football games or compete in state or regional competitions. This year, the dance team has not only been allowed to dance to support the football team but they also had six UDA All-Americans crowned, in addition to earning a bid to nationals.
“I want this team to not only be a successful, competitive team, but also a highly-respected team,” Schmidt said. “Character outside of the dance room is something I am trying to instill in these girls to prepare them for the world after high school. I want the community to respect and think highly of our dance team, not only because of their skill level but because of the standard they hold themselves to. Being active in our community is something I want for this team as well.
“Making these things happen is not all possible without funding and support from our community. Even things like a dance room, it’s needed and necessary, but without funding and support, it isn’t possible. Nationals and other competitions are not possible without funding and support as well.”
The national compeition will be held in Orlando, Florida, in February, and the dance team’s booster club is accepting donations in an attempt to raise an additional $5,000 that is needed for the team to make the trip.