There are people that have a talent at a young age but never do anything to develop.
Chris Geer is not one of those people.
He has been passionate about dancing for most of his life and didn’t let the fact that the dance team never had a male dancer drive him away from his passion for dance.
Geer became the first male dancer on Pahrump Valley High dance team this year. Terri Wulfenstein, the Trojans dance team’s head coach, said in the 13-year history he is the first one.
He started dancing at a young age and was encouraged to do so by his father, who also danced.
“When I was 10 years old my father taught me to break dance and moonwalk,” Geer said.
He said he would show off his abilities at school dances but never took any classes.
Finally, a friend of his on the dance team, Torrie Martin, found out about his dancing and she convinced him to go out for the team and he made it.
Geer said he did it for his love of music.
“Before I danced I played the trumpet until I was in eighth grade,” he said. “I had been playing since I was in fourth grade.”
Geer’s dancing comes from his heart and his natural abilities.
“During the summer I took classes to help me with my form. I took a technique class, hip hop, jazz and ballet, all at Donna Lamm’s studio,” he said.
Sophomore Shelby Ledford, who is in her second year on the dance team, said the team encouraged Geer to join.
“I think it’s cool that he joined the team,” Ledford said. “Most of us have jazz experience. So he has moves that we have never done.”
She said Geer was so serious about joining the team that he went to Donna’s Dance Studio before tryouts and they helped him. Ledford said he had no problem with the tryouts.
“To join the team, he had to learn a one-minute routine,” she said. “He wasn’t intimidated at all.”
“Learning the terminology was difficult at first,” Geer said. “Having never taken a dance class I had to learn all that before the tryouts.”
The coaches also never had any reservations about Geer joining the team.
“He was required to go through the same tryout as everyone else, and he showed promise in his ability and a great attitude and eagerness to learn and work hard,” assistant coach Judy Maughan said. “He also brings skills we have never had on our team previously, so we are excited about having him with us.”
Wulfenstein said she had boys before ask about trying out but never showed up. She said the coaches always thought it would be good to have some male dancers on the team.
“So when the team said Chris was coming, we crossed our fingers,” Wulfenstein said. “He was very serious. He is a hard worker but did have some problems with the terminology. He then took classes over the summer and has progressed really well. You can see the improvement from the classes he took. To join the team, everyone has to be an advanced dancer.”
Geer’s newness to formal dancing was never a problem, according to Trojans dance coach Judy Maughan.
“Chris is definitely new to dance technique, but he has been working diligently since making the team to learn technique as well as new skills. He has a great team spirit and is always learning from our more experienced dancers.”
It’s not all hard work for Geer. He feels its also about camaraderie and is comfortable expressing himself on the dance floor.
Maughan feels Geer might have opened the doors to other guys to join the team although at the moment there is no long line at the door.
“We have always encouraged the boys in the school to try out for the team, but we understand their reservations about it,” Maughan said. “I think he is creating an awareness for the students that dance team is for anyone and not just the girls.”
Geer feels some of the guys just might feel intimidated to join because of the work involved. He said he feels it’s like a sport because of the physicality of the moves.
“It takes a lot of effort to learn and get the moves,” he said. “It takes about a week to learn a routine and we practice for two hours a day. In addition to the two hours of practice, each member practices for hours at home.”
All dancers work hard and have to have a good work ethic. In Chris’ case, he had to work doubly hard because he was new to formal dancing.
“You need a lot of stamina,” Geer said. “I don’t think I would have made the team without my hip-hop experience. Guys normally don’t join but I wanted to try something new. The girls wanted me to join.”
Geer should add a new dimension to the team when they go to regionals in January and nationals in March.
The dance team was also chosen by Disneyland to perform in their Holiday Parade this weekend.
Along with Geer, the team is composed of Jordan Brooks, Jennifer Han, Shelby Ledford, Tiffany Ledford, Torrie Martin, and Shay Neth.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org