Honoring Tradition

By Nadia Hoffman
The Herald-Zeitung

heatherspurs2Heather Easley has had to learn the art of juggling to go along with being the first-year coach of the New Braunfels Monoceras dance team.

Many days for Easley begin at 5 a.m. and don’t end until after midnight.

That’s because Easley is taking her passion for dance to a whole new level.

Easley is in her second year as a member of the prestigious San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers.

She performs in front of 18,000 fans during the Spurs home games and at public appearances with the team.

But her real passion is in teaching, and the Monceras team is looking to earning more awards at the upcoming competitions.

“It keeps me on my toes,” said Easley when talking about splitting her time between coach and dancer. “I slowly figured out how to divide my time, and I’ve found that it naturally worked itself out.”

Easley’s passion for dance has engulfed the Monoceras squad since she took the helm in August, 2009.

The Unicorn dance team is coming off an award-winning 2009 season.

The Monoceras squad took top honors in the HTE State Championships at Akins High School in February 2009, when they were named Grand Champions, beating out teams from San Antonio MacArthur, Madison, Lee and Kileen.

“As a new coach, I’ve brought a lot of new challenges and a different style to the team,” Easley said. “ The girls want to be challenged this year and they are well deserving of it.”

Although this will be Easley’s first year coaching, she is veteran in the world of dance.

With 19 years of dance experience, which includes dance instruction, the team is bound to have continued success. Not to mention her experience with performing under pressure.

The 11-member dance team started preparing this past summer for the upcoming competition year, as they learned new routines and conditioning both physically and mentally.

The team learned four new routines in two weeks and put in long hours of practice, even over their Christmas break.

Easley’s respect for the Monoceras traditions is what drives her to keep the team working to reach their potential.

“It’s important to myself and the team that we are true to the traditions that this team holds,” Easely said. “But also keep up with the times and not be afraid to make change in order to improve.”

Easley is quick to say that she has embraced the kick team tradition, which is what the Monceras are known for, although she openly admits she is not a kicker.

“It’s a challenge that I’m willing to take on and learn, Easley said.

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The Monoceras team were named Kick Champions at last year’s HTE State Championships.

The qualities that the new coach looks for in becoming a Monoceras member may be surprising to most.

“I’m not looking for what one would call the “perfect dancer,” Easley said. “But more for someone who is dedicated and has the drive and commitment for what it takes to be on this team.”

The support from the community is what drives the team to do it’s best during each competition.

Although change is always hard, when it’s good change it’s always welcomed.

“The girls and the community have welcomed me with open arms,” Easley said. “I’m honored to be able to lead this team on to another winning season.”

The team is busying preparing to host the upcoming New Braunfels Invitational to kick off the season, which is set for February 6th.

[Heather at the Spurs Website]

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