Freshman pursues unique talent

Emma Bascom, Opinion Editor

dancerTessa Phongsavath
Some students enjoy dance. Contemporary, Lyrical, Tap, Hip-Hop, etc. However, not too many can say they are involved in Irish Dancing.

Freshman Makenzie Barnes is one student who can.

“Me and my mom were looking at videos online and we stumbled across it and it just looked really fun, so we decided to try to find a studio nearby. I basically got started because of YouTube … It’s really unique. Not a lot of people do [Irish Dancing],” Barnes said.

Dance, like any extra-curricular activity, opens doors for students to have new opportunities and experiences.

“It’s completely opened me up to a new culture. Like, farther than I’ve ever thought about,” Barnes said. “It does fill up my schedule, though.”

Barnes has been dancing competitively for three years, and has felt the impact of dance.

However, for Barnes, the pros outweigh the cons. Dealing with a full schedule is a small price to pay for the experience she receives when she dances.

“Dance has impacted my life in great ways. I’ve gotten new friends, learned new skills, and gained experience from dancing all over Kansas City and Missouri. It’s been a great experience and has definitely changed my life for the better,” Barnes said.

Competitions aside, Barnes also enjoys other types of performances, such as talent shows. Most recently, Barnes could be seen in Mr. Wildcat on Feb. 19.

“It was exhilarating. It’s so fun going to practice every day and getting to know new people. We [Mr. Wildcat performers] practiced at least once a week as a group, and it was fun to watch the boys, but it was also fun to show people what I can do,” Barnes said. “After Mr. Wildcat, everyone was telling me what I great job I had done and how impressed they were with my dancing and that makes me so excited … I love being able to have the opportunity to show the school what I can do.”

Barnes’ close friends Katie Dossett and Sydney Janesko agree that Barnes deserves the attention her dance has recieved after Mr. Wildcat.

“I think that Makenzie has worked really hard on her dancing. I’ve watched her and she’s so good and so talented,” Dossett said. “Irish dancing, you don’t hear a whole lot about it. It’s really unique that she does that and I support her all the way. I love Makenzie and I love her dancing and I think she’s awesome.”

Janesko went to almost every Mr. Wildcat rehearsal to watch Barnes prepare for the show.

“She’s worked really hard for this. She’s always telling me about her practices, so when I saw her do it, I was just like ‘Woah.’ You don’t see it all the time and it’s just really neat,” Janesko said.

Even though it is a lot of energy, time, and money, Barnes believes it is all worth it when she is doing what she loves.

“It gives me a rush to perform in front of people and showcase my talent to them. There’s always a reason to be happy when I’m dancing. It’s somewhere I always love to be,” Barnes said.