YORK – The audience may have been smaller, but the participants in the annual York High School Dukettes Mini Dukettes clinic were as enthusiastic as ever.
The annual event is an afternoon camp led by the YHS Dukettes Dance Team. “This year, due to capacity restrictions, we are not performing at a basketball game,” said Dukettes sponsor Katie Burger. “Normally, the Mini Dukettes perform at a basketball game, but due to COVID restrictions, the Mini Dukettes performed for their parents only this year.”
The YHS dance team’s own performances have been altered, as the dancers have to wear masks during their routines. Burger said she and the team are thankful they are still able to give their home basketball game performances. “We have been fortunate to still be able to perform this year,” she said. There are nine members of the dance team: Tory Cobb, Raegan Demuth, Molly Kitt, Ava Ziemba, Kadence Foreman, Piper Fernau, Bailey Tjaden, Elizabeth Reorda and Whitney Polak. The Dukettes is a non-competitive team, but dancers must try out to get a spot.
Applying their skills and knowledge to creating and teaching, Dukettes choreographed a short routine to teach the minis. This year it had a “Frozen” theme taking artistic elements from the popular kids’ movie. “The high school girls worked together and made up the routine themselves,” Burger said. “They also worked to plan what techniques -- or ‘Dukette moves’ as they called them for the Minis -- they would teach.”
Besides spending time learning and perfecting their technique and routine, the kids played games with the girls they look up to so much. “This is a nice way to be a positive role model for younger girls, and they loved afternoon with them,” Burger said.
The 69 minis were aged grades kindergarten through 5th. The clinic has remained popular year after year, both for the elementary-age dancers and the high school dancers. “The Dukettes love this event, and they were thrilled they could put it on despite COVID challenges,” Burger said. “We were so glad we found a way to make it happen.”
A short afternoon together made a big impact – and not only just for the minis. The high school dancers had great afternoon as well, Burger said. “Many of them said they were tired at the end of the day, but that it was one of the best days of our season.”