Gracing the stage


Alyson Granchi

Grace Xiao danced at the Winterfest Showcase for the Jefferson Dance Team. “The teacher gave us more creative freedom during this dance so it was really fun to improv on stage,” Xiao said. This Winterfest Showcase was only one of Xiao’s many successes.

Alyson Granchi, Staff Writer

Her arms fling synchronously with her body, her head tilted back, and her back arched. She takes a bow, and the crowd goes wild. Freshman Grace Xiao earns second place in the regional tournament. 

Xiao is a dance champion and freshman member of the Jefferson Dance Team. She has been dancing since the age of four with Studio Bleu and started competitive dance at the age of nine winning various competitions.

“I found the dance community really welcoming and I really love the feeling of dance as a sport,” Xiao said. 

Dancing has been a big part of Xiao’s life and a successful one too. A third-place winner in the Imagine Dance Challenge Nationals in previous years, Xiao is a qualified member of the Jefferson Dance Team. Now, as a member of the team, at their level, they have to put in a lot of work.

“I would say the coach really made us go 110% No matter how tired you were, it wouldn’t matter. Practicing a lot really helped,” Xiao said.

Xiao and her teammates’ hard work paid off. The Jefferson team’s most recent competition is the Winterfest Showcase; Xiao took second place at regionals in solo performances! As a team, they won first place in the kick section and second in both jazz and lyrical! A very successful team needs to have a good plan of action.

“What matters when becoming better at dance is of course practice, but the coach’s tips help a lot,” Xiao said.


No matter what, the Jefferson Dance Team tries their best, no matter the competition. However, Nationals tend to have more of a variety of people. This leads to major differences in the work ethic of dances in Nationals rather than Regionals.

“Many studios and high schools come from across the nation, so it’s really interesting to see the training and different techniques they have,” Xiao said. 

Technical conditions and precise movements are key to winning these highly competitive tournaments. Especially in team dance competitions, because even the smallest mistakes are detrimental 

“If we’re off by a hair, then it can take off points and it’s really bad for the entire team. We have to learn to be very precise,” Xiao said. 

If the team wants to appear united and as one, they have to collaborate and work together towards perfection.

“It’s been really fun connecting with my teammates, and it’s easier working as a team than it is doing solo because you have to learn and watch everyone around you to adjust your own movements,” Xiao said. 

Sometimes, the work required at Jefferson can be overwhelming so Xiao uses dance to let her mind take a break. 

“Dance is an outlet for whenever I’m really stressed. It’s a form of relaxation for me and a nice way to stay calm and have a peaceful mind before heading home,” Xiao said.

Grace has loved being a part of the tight-knit dance group that always has fun no matter what they do. Recently, the Dance Team went to the contest of champions in Orlando, Florida. Her dance journey has been an exciting one, but sometimes winning isn’t always what matters. Xiao has loved dancing at competitions, and appreciates the support around her. 

“All in all, sometimes the best part of dance for me isn’t necessarily the awards, but feeling accomplished finishing a clean routine or when my coaches are proud of me,” Xiao said.