A Chat With National Champion Coach of Blinn College Dance Sarah Flisowski – LDCPS4E24

It’s the finale episode of Season 4!  It’s going to be a bare bones episode again with no intro and no outro.  My voice recovered from strep, only to lose it again by teaching a clinic to forty-five Kindergarteners through 3rd graders.  I’m sure you all can relate.   It’s a good thing that our…

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A Chat With Former NBA & NFL Choreographer/Director Ashley Deaton – LDCPS4E23

Ashley Deaton graduated from LSU where she was a member of their national championship winning team.  She then danced for the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the Hornets) and became their choreographer and director.  She led that team during Hurricane Katrina, relocating to Oklahoma City.  She then went on to add Senior Director of Entertainment Teams…

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A Chat With National Champion Coach of St. Ambrose University Danelle Langeneckert – LDCPS4E22

Danelle Langeneckert was introduced as the St. Ambrose University dance coach on March 12, 2010. She became the school’s Spirit Coach, in charge of both the dance and cheer programs, on May 10, 2017. Langeneckert, a three-time NAIA National Competitive Dance Coach of the Year, has led the SAU Dance Team to national acclaim by…

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A Chat With Grand Valley State University Laker Dance Team Coaches Rael Orao and Katy Nyenbrink

The Grand Valley State University Laker Dance Team recently went viral for a video their national championship hip hop routine, but they were a sensation in the dance team community long before that.  Rael and Katy from GVSU give insight on how they built their team and how they maintain a level of excellence year…

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A Chat With Athletic Director Kristy Bayer – LDCPS4E20

This blog post has been shared by many members of the dance team community: https://callmemags.substack.com/p/all-my-blood-sweat-and-tears-for It was written by Maggie Schmaltz, a recent graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and a member of their phenomenal dance team while she was a student there.  The blog post is about what Maggie experienced as…

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A Chat With Judging Expert Joni May – LDCPS4E19

Joni May is an Advertising Professional with a varied background in Dance Team Judging and Coaching. She is the current Co-Director of the NDCA Judging Credentials Program. Joni has authored and taught a judging course in England and Scotland for dance team judges and worked with competitive teams in those countries. She was a founder…

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A Chat With Former Ponderosa Poms Coach Angela Ottmann – LDCPS4E18

Angela Ottmann has been embedded in the spirit community for over 35 years, focusing on coaching, choreography, dance education/instruction and judging at the national and regional level.  She is the Founder and President of the CSCA (Colorado Spirit Coaches Association).  Angela is currently the Conference Director serving on the Executive Board, for the NDCA, National Dance…

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A Chat With University of Minnesota Dance Team Coach Amanda Gaines – LDCPS4E17

Amanda Gaines is the coach of the 19x UDA National Champion and 3x World Champion University of Minnesota Dance Team. Growing up training and competing in all styles at her studio and high school dance team in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Amanda went on to attend the University of Minnesota, where she was a captain and choreographer…

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A Chat With Former Coach of The Villages Jordann Pierluissi – LDCPS4E16

Jordann Pierluissi has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to dance team.  She has a degree in Exercise Physiology and was the longtime coach of national champion powerhouse The Villages.  Jordann also has experience as a judge, choreographer, consultant, instructor, dance teacher…you name it, she’s done it!  She’s also tremendously humble, and has a…

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A Chat With Coaching Expert Rani Reichow – LDCPS4E15

Rani Reichow has been involved in dance team at the high school, college and pro level, including teams in the Nebraska, Missouri, Florida and Arizona.  She’s been a performer, instructor, judge and coach.  Rani has a tremendous passion for applying her training in  Exercise Science and Physical Education, along with all of her first hand…

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The Tiers System

Finally‚Ķ an app FOR dance coaches made BY dance coaches! The Tiers System (and Tiers App) gives you the tools to empower your dancers to take control of their technique and development. The app provides you with over 150 skills broken down by category (turns, leaps, jumps, acro/tumbling) and by level (beginner through elite), and…

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A Chat With Dance Team Genius and Owner of the Tiers System: Erin Manske – LDCPS4E14

Our guest on the podcast this week is Erin Manske.  She is a dance team coach, choreographer and consultant and I love talking to her because she brings a totally different perspective that is unique.  Erin is a brilliant mathematician!  Erin has a lot of great advice on coaching and choreography and we also talked…

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A Chat With Endicott College Dance Team Coach Nikki Sao Pedro-Welch – LDCPS4E13

Nikki Sao Pedro-Welch earned an M.F.A in Interdisciplinary Art (with emphasis on Choreography and Pedagogy) from Goddard College, an M.Ed. in Arts in Learning from Endicott College, and a B.A. in Dance from Point Park University. She has been the Coordinator of Dance, an Assistant Professor, and head coach of the Endicott College dance team for the…

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A Chat With National Champion Smithtown West Whisperettes Coach Tara Foglia – LDCPS4E12

Tara Foglia has coached for 25 years, and 16 of those years has been with the Smithtown West Whisperettes.  Her team has won 16 NDA high school national championships, 14 of those championships being in high kick. Tara is also serving as the president of The Long Island Dance Team Association.  She has so many…

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Season 4 Relaunch! LDCPS4E11

It’s been a while!  Thank you for your patience as I stepped away from the podcast for a few months.  Why did I have to step away?  Well, I’ve been coaching my former college team!  So many coaches listen to this podcast so you understand just how much time and energy you need to devote…

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Sharpen Up Dance Team Training

We train the dancers and inspire the coaches!  Three award-winning coaches, sharing a passion for dance team, teamwork, and strong work ethic.  Certified, educated, and experienced, Sharpen Up Dance Team Training is the Gold Standard in Pom and Dance Team Training.   “Our focus is not solely on dancers making the team, but by teaching…

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A Chat With University of Indianapolis Coach Carlee Bachek – LDCPS4E10

Carlee Bachek is not only the coach of the University of Indianapolis Dance Team, she was also a member, a leader, and the catalyst to get the team recognized as a club sport instead of a student led organization.  You’ll hear her insights on leading the team, building the program, team culture, choreography, technique, and…

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A Chat With Forest Park Dance Team Coach Denise Heilers – LDCPS4E9

Denise Heilers is the long time coach of the Forest Park Dance Team.  They hold 23 state titles total in pom, kick, and hip hop.  They are also climbing the ranks on the national stage as well.  With this talent and quality of performances, one would assume that they come from a really large school…

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A Chat With Judging Expert and DDCA of Oregon Coach Danielle Schneider – LDCPS4E8

Danielle Schneider is what I consider a triple threat in our industry:  coach, judge, and state association leader.  She has been a coach in the state of Oregon for many years so she has many ideas on what has worked in the areas of team management and culture.  She is also an experienced and knowledgeable…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert Gretchen Noack – LDCPS4E7

Gretchen Noack is one of my favorite dance team people!  She’s so warm and friendly and so very welcoming to everyone.  She also really knows her stuff, having taught for USA for years, and judging dance teams across the country for even longer.  She shares her unconventional dance story, what makes USA so special and…

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A Chat With Coach of the National Champion St. Thomas More Sparklers Jenny Matthews – LDCPS4E6

 Jenny Matthews is from Lafayette, Lousiana, where she began her training at a young age.  She was trained in all genres of dance but her true love is teaching.  She brings over 30 years of experience and has been teaching competitively since 2003. In high school, she was a member of the St. Thomas More Sparklers…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert and College of New Jersey Coach Jennifer Whitford – LDCPS4E5

Jennifer Whitford is an all around expert in so many facets of dance team.  She’s been a dancer, an instructor, a coach at the high school and college level, a choreographer and a judge.  Jennifer is now serving as head coach to The College of New Jersey Dance Team.  She’s also a wonderfully kind, generous…

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A Chat With Arizona State University Dance Team Coach Bianca Caryl – LDCPS4E4

Bianca Caryl is the coach of a major powerhouse, the Arizona State University Dance Team.  I think listeners will be pleasantly surprised and inspired by Bianca’s approach to competition, building team culture, and her team’s purpose.  She shares so much insight and advice from her wealth of knowledge and experience!   Follow ASU Dance Team:…

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A Chat With University of Nebraska Omaha Coach Mo Klug – LDCPS4E3

Mo Klug has lived on both sides of the country, but eventually settled here in the Midwest where we are so fortunate to have her.  She talks about her varied background and dance experience and shares all kinds of great insights and advice on coaching.  There are so many takeaways from this episode with Mo,…

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The Confident Dancer Summit with Dr. Chelsea Pierotti – LDCPS4E2

Join us for The Confident Dancer Summit August 6th – 8th, a free online conference for dance coaches and teachers!  You will gain knowledge and skills to teach your dancers to believe in themselves, help your dancers take the stage with confidence, boost your confidence as the educator, learn from a community of like-minded educators…

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The World Goes On: A Collaboration with country music artist Jamie O’Neal

We are so excited to announce the release of this collaborative project between Larkspur, Jamie O’Neal and college dance teams around the country during this pandemic!  Jamie’s song The World Goes On was released at the height of Covid, and it inspired us to create beautiful movement, and to reach out and make connections with…

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A Chat With West Fargo Coach Gretchen Jost – LDCPS3E26

Gretchen Jost is the coach of the national championship team West Fargo Packatahnas.  We talked about all kinds of great dance team stuff including how she has handled the pandemic with her team, planning a “normal” dance team year, building team culture, teaching skills and conditioning, cleaning routines, virtual competition tips, improving performances before and…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert Mishra Keller – LDCPS3E25

Mishra Keller has been a competitive cheerleader, dancer, choreographer, instructor and judge so her perspective comes from years of experience.  Her perspective is also unique because she through her company Nutrisults, she offers a holistic approach that beautifully translates into dance teams, individual dancers, choreographers, and coaches.  We talk about choreography, improving routines and maximizing…

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Apolla Performance

We created the sock we needed as dancers, and ended up with the best sock in the world for everyone.  We’re an all female owned company that created this company from the ground up to change the world of what people wear on their feet.  We’ve spent years developing the perfect, game-changing, sustainable sock.  Our…

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A Chat With Apolla’s Brianne Zborowski – LDCPS3E24

Brianne Zborowski has a lot of experience in dance as a performer, instructor, and cofounder of successful competition teams in multiple states.  Brianne received her B.S. in Business Management with an emphasis on Management and Marketing from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan while teaching dance and working in the family business. She moved to Los…

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A Chat With Former Coach of the BYU Cougarettes Jodi Maxfield – LDCPS3E23

Jodi Maxfield danced as a Cougarette at Brigham Young University back in the day, but as a coach of that program for 30 years, she built the program into the internationally celebrated and acclaimed powerhouse that it is today.  This legend shared so many valuable pieces of advice, tidbits of info, and all kinds of…

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FLOURISH with Larkspur – Race Relations with Adrian Singletary & Book Club Follow Up with Iris Lynne Sherman

I’m so pleased to have Dr. Adrian Singletary on the podcast!  He’s been an athlete, a coach, an athletic director, and an administrator, but my favorite role of his is that of our Natalie’s husband.  We spend a little time talking about what those of us in dance team want to know:  motivating our dancers,…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert Coree Smith – LDCPS3E21

Coree Smith has extensive dance team experience as a performer, choreographer, instructor, and judge.  Although she is an expert in this field, she is still a very enthusiastic, lifelong learner when it comes to dance team, and her positivity is contagious.  Her routines have won more than 65 state championships in Iowa alone over the…

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Melanie’s 50th Birthday Episode Pt. 2

I’m joined by the wonderful Nick Clement as guest cohost as we’re continuing to celebrate this milestone birthday.  We talked about surprises that this podcast has brought and some choreo successes and failures.  Then  I spilled the tea or brought the juice or whatever the cool cats are saying these days, by sharing some details…

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Melanie’s 50th Birthday Episode Pt. 1

On today’s episode of the podcast, my dear friend, talented choreographer, king of kick, and guest cohost extraordinaire Nick Clement asked me the questions and I gave the answers!  It’s a very forward looking episode, as I  spent a great deal of time talking about where I see Larkspur in 10 years and things I’d…

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A Sequel Chat With Sara Heptig, Coach of the K-State Classy Cats – LDCPS3E18

Sara Heptig coached the Olathe North Eaglettes for years, leading them to national championships for two different brands.  She is now coaching the Kansas State University Classy Cats, a role she cherishes because she too was a Classy Cat during her time at K-State!  We talk about her journey to secure that coaching position, which…

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Covid Coping Mechanisms – What’s Next? LDCPS3E17

In this episode, I talk with my dear friend, long time educator, guidance counselor and dance team coach Shelley McCain about what she has seen that has worked when dealing with the Covid pandemic, the effects on our dancers we’re going to witness, and how to deal with this situation both in the present and…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert and DTU Owner Dave Sanchez – LDCPS3E16

Dave Sanchez, also known as Dazzman, ran a wildly popular Yahoo Group dedicated to dance team, and he was known for accurately predicting outcomes of competitions on a national level.  Many did not know that Dazzman is also a Harvard educated attorney whose passion for dance team started in a really unique way.  He’ll also…

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Video Tips For Virtual Competitions – LDCPS3E15

Missouri Dance Team Association President and experienced dance team judge Brett Elder and I share helpful tips and advice for showing your team’s routines in the best possible light via video for virtual competitions.   You can submit routines for video feedback only or to have them considered for the Show-Me State Showcase for $60/team…

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A Chat With Dance Team Expert Kate Ridge – LDCPS3E14

Kate Ridge is from Australia, and that’s where she currently resides, but she spent years here in the United States, and during that time she was a performer, instructor, choreographer and judge.  Her experience isn’t limited to America and Australia though.  She has also worked in other countries including China and Korea.  I picked her…

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Savannah Miller

Savannah Miller has had a baton in her hand for about as long as she can remember, and through tremendous dedication and hard work, she has won numerous titles on the national and world level, and was the featured twirler at the University of Arkansas, entertaining thousands.  She also has worldwide acclaim when videos of…

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A Chat With Coach of National Champion Eisenhower Dance Team Rachelle Kiehle – LDCPS3E13

Rachelle Kiehle is the coach and choreographer for the Eisenhower Dance Team.  This powerhouse program from Michigan has been national champions eight times over, and has achieved the honor of double national championships in jazz and hip hop for three of those years.  Rachelle passed on so much great advice, tips, and pointers on building…

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A Chat With Katie Groven of Dancer Fitness – LDCPS3E12

Katie Groven is a certified personal trainer, a dancer with 25 years of dance experience, holder of two world championship titles and has coached for ten years.  She is also the owner of Dancer Fitness, an extensive exercise library with training plans she’s carefully created with coaches and dancers in mind.  We talked about important…

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Hip Hop Combo 2

Briana teaches a fun and fast hip hop combo!  If the song she chose is too fast for all team members, the choreo is super adaptable and will go with something a tad slower.    

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Performance Makeup and Skincare with Kayla

Kayla Kernel, our resident makeup artist and skincare expert, and I discuss the use of makeup in the dance team world:  how it can enhance your routine, the difference between game day looks and competition, and how to master those pesky false eyelashes.  The last part of the podcast is dedicated to anti-aging and Kayla breaks…

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FLOURISH with Larkspur – Race Relations With Yvonne Cole

In an effort to keep this topic at the forefront, our second episode in our FLOURISH with Larkspur series of the podcast discusses the sensitive topic of race again.  This time I sit down and chat with Yvonne Cole, the longtime coach of the Lindbergh Flyerettes and Missouri Dance Team Association founder and board member,…

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A Chat With Purdue Dance Team Coach Mallori Walker – LDCPS3E11

Mallori Walker is not only the coach of the Purdue Dance Team, she is also a former member of the team.  She is so passionate about dance team and the team she coaches, and she passed on so many tips for not only how the team is getting through Covid, but how they are utilizing…

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BONUS Episode: Pumpin’ The Brakes With Larkspur

One of the most listened to episodes of the podcast was at the end of Season 2.  It was during a very uncertain time of the pandemic, and I just picked up a microphone and started talking.  This episode is done in that same spirit.  I’m joined by Larkspur members Kayla and Natalie (our precious…

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Rob Miller

Rob Miller has influenced and guided the most successful and significant dance team coaches through Proactive Coaching, an organization that  works with coaches to help them create character-based team cultures, provide a blueprint for team leadership, develop confident, tough-minded competitors, and train coaches for excellence and significance.  He is one of my favorite speakers, and…

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Advanced Turns

Kathryn gives some tips for turns in second, and suggestions for turn variations and combinations. The tutorial is followed by a super sassy and fun jazz combo to Waka Waka by Shakira. The combo has a double pirouette, and it’s also a great tempo to add one of Kathryn’s turn combos from the tutorial.  

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