AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Caprock Caprockettes, senior captain Angelina Vong performed at the Texas Dance Educators Association Convention.
Vong has always had a passion for dancing and during her freshmen year of high school took Dance I.
After taking Dance I, Vong tried out for the Caprockettes and made the team. Since being a member of the team Vong has realized there is more to school than academics and has a new mindset.
“Before high school I was never really school spirited,” said Vong. “But once I joined the dance team, I realized that there’s so much more to school than just academics. There’s clubs, groups, you know friendships, you know bonds that you can build with families, such as this one. I think being able to represent my school meant a lot to me.”
Vong’s leadership qualities were noticed by her coaches and during her junior year she was first lieutenant for the team. This year she is the team captain.
“I think Angelina from the beginning has always had a strong suit for leadership she has been a great role model for others, and I believe her character and attitude bounces back and forth,” said Erika Castanon Director of Dance. “Others are able to learn from her and even if there are good days and bad days, I know her teammates can depend on her, and I know that she can set a good example.”
Castanon is a Caprock alumnus and shared it means a lot to be back at her alma mater, challenging her students to chase their dreams.
“I think here at caprock we go by longhorns today leaders tomorrow and it’s really powerful to know that I can come back to continue a legacy that I was able to start it’s kind of full circle,” stated Castanon.
Castanon continued, “my first-year, last year I was kind of in awe I could not believe I was back here in the classroom as a teacher but specifically doing something I loved as a high school student as a college student and now as a teacher. So, it’s very exciting, I’m very proud of myself to be at this point but very proud to set an example for my students as well.”
Both Vong and Castanon shared they wish the entire team could have experienced TDEA. Dancers from all levels of experience and backgrounds were there and Vong said she has a different mindset now.
“It was definitely a huge learning experience you know being there with all these advanced dancers,” shared Vong. “I consider myself an intermediate dancer and being there around all these advanced dancers I usually see on Instagram or online videos I look at or to better myself.”
Vong continued, “seeing them do it in person was completely different than seeing them do it online and performing with them, learning a routine with them, seeing them struggle in ways I couldn’t even imagine made me feel human and see them as human as well.”
The Caprock Caprockettes have an ‘I can, I will, I deserve it’ motto that has an impact on the way they think, practice and perform.
“It’s all about mentality,” said Castanon. “I always say don’t worry about winning its about yourself and how you feel during the process. I first get them ready by saying they are here on this team for a reason, they tried out for a reason. We go by that the whole process of our season that way we stay mentally motivated and from there the technique the character the attitude all pulls together just from that mentality.”
Amarillo Independent School District had three all-state dancers perform at TDEA. AISD is the only school district in the Texas Panhandle that offers dance for students and can be considered as physical education or fine arts elective.
Dance educators in the district hope that other districts will take notice and being to offer similar courses and opportunities for their students.
“How fortunate are we that if kids aren’t really finding their true meaning in life in academics, they can find an escape in their elective classes and I’m glad that as a teacher I’m able to serve as that role model and kind of help students find their true selves with something their interested in,” said Castanon.
Vong will graduate in the spring but the support and experience she received won’t soon be forgotten.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support you know especially from Coach Cas, my family they’re really proud of me, my teammates support me as well,” said Vong. “It was truly life changing for me and I don’t think I’d be the same person if I didn’t go to that convention. I honestly don’t think the same way I did before.”