SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A dance team on the Pine Ridge Reservation is making history.. and having fun in the process.
Not only is this dance team the first of its kind at Lakota Tech High School, but it’s also the first competitive dance team on the entire Pine Ridge Reservation.
“What I love about dance is probably the music, the team. The music itself, it really gets you going. The team also motivates me because we really bonded over this past season and it’s not like any other type of team you would be with, we are actually friends even outside the team, and they’re kind of like sisters to me,” sophomore at Lakota Tech, Aurora Marshall said.
Marshall says being a part of the dance team has been more than just a competition.
“I’ve seen personal growth with each and every one of the team members. I’ve seen some that wouldn’t talk for months to being social and it’s just really cool to see them grow as a person. Just being on this team is a great opportunity because it really opened up some doors to new things,” Marshall said.
Sophomore Briseis Janis says the team has helped her become someone she is proud of.
“I am so thankful for my coach and these girls because I was a completely different person last year and it’s cool to see the person that dance has built me into,” sophomore at Lakota Tech, Briseis Janis said.
“What is unique about us is that we are located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation so we are the first in the state of South Dakota to have an all nations native team come off of a reservation and any reservation in the state. So we come from all different tribal backgrounds,” coach Misty Mousseaux said.
There are 8 ladies on the dance team and most all of them participate in cheer for the Lakota Tech High School.
Mousseaux says being brand new has brought some challenges.
Because this team is the only one of its kind on the reservation. These girls travel hundreds of miles to compete.
“We got to take part in 8 meets throughout the season. We were able to participate in tournaments all the way in Gregory to Belle Fourche which every drive is 2, 3-hundred mile round trips for our school so that was kind of our first hurdle but we made and it actually became something we looked forward to,” Mousseaux said.
One of the team’s biggest triumphs was making the state tournament.
“Growing up on the reservation and knowing the opportunities that the reservation lacks, it was so emotional to watch our girls to watch them grow from the beginning to the end. I have girls that never danced before come on to the team who have never danced before be some of the best dancers,” Mousseaux said.
“I’m glad that Misty brought this to our school because no other school had this so it was cool to see that, grow with it and to learn from it and to build skills and friendships and to help people who never even thought about dancing, like I didn’t,” Janis said.
In the future, the team hopes to see more schools on the reservation take part in competitive dance.
Coach Mousseaux and her dancers also have high expectations for the Lakota Tech Dance Team.
“I always get emotional but our girls this season, I 100 percent believe that they changed the trajectory of a lot of their paths with these dance and cheer teams,” Mousseaux said.