Stella Frake and Niles West Students Compete at Precision Arts Dance Competition

By Gia Bexes, Staff Writer

Niles West is filled with heavily talented competitive dancers, one of them being senior Stella Frake. Frake is a competitive dancer at a dance studio in Niles called Activ8 Dance Company. 

On the weekend of April 29th, Frake and her team competed at the Precision Arts Challenge at Tinley Park Convention Center. The team has been working super hard, practicing their dances for several months in preparation for the upcoming competitions.

A few other Niles West students are also on the team such as seniors Kathryn Saro and Andrea Bora, juniors Sophie Druckman, Naomi Catalla and Taylor Windmon as well as sophomore Mindy Katz.

 My favorite memory is the moment we got PAC attack for ‘Telephone’. It was an incredible moment,” Frake said. “Telephone” won an award known as “PAC Attack” which is a special award at the Precision Arts Challenge.

“We got PAC attack call back for our jazz dance called ‘Telephone’. The piece got very far with the callback,” Frake said. The award is only given to dances that were really hard-hitting or powerful. When you get a PAC Attack, sirens go off and lights fill the stage. Dancers are jumping up and down with excitement,” Frake said, “When you receive a PAC Attack, the group gets to compete the group number again against other pieces that also received PAC Attack,”

“Precision Arts was a super fun competition and I enjoyed competing with my teammates and dancing my heart out on stage. Receiving an award for my jazz piece was an incredible feeling,” sophomore Mindy Katz said.

“I always love awards. It’s so fun and exciting to see how your dances did in comparison to others and to hear what judges have to say about your dances,” Frake said.

The music, dancing, and bonding with your teammates on stage after competing is a moment like no other.

Frake competed in small group and large group numbers and her very own solo piece entitled “Turning Tables”.

“I really loved my solo. I haven’t competed in a solo in a few years and it felt really good to do it for my last year. I also loved our dance called ‘False Confidence’ [that Katy Anderson choreographed],”

Frake’s favorite style she competed in was lyrical, which is the style she competed for her solo. Competing solo at a competition is very impressive. Both dance teachers Miss Ryanne and Miss Kimmy are very proud of the dancers. “Miss Kimmy really helped me get in the zone before my solo,” Frake said.

After every competition, there are always some goals that are brainstormed by dancers for the next competition. “Some goals I have for the team and I is to be more sharp and clear in some of the dances and working with my teammates to make sure every position we make with our bodies in the same,” Frake said.

The season consists of several different dance competitions leading up to nationals. “I’m super excited for League Of Champions which is our next competition because there are some amazing teams that go there and I love watching the dances,” Frake said.

Frake is an upperclassman that never fails to encourage dancers. “I’ve been dancing with Stella on the Niles West Dance Team and she is truly an inspiration for all of us. Her talent goes above and beyond,” freshman Zenya Kontos said.

“The best part of the competition is our little chants and team huddles before performing and competing our hearts out,” Frake said.