Diamonds welcome two new coaches


Wildcat Photo

Assistant coach Gabby Stephens and head coach Anna Meissbach are the new De Soto High School dance team coaches.

Lindsay Dodd, Staff Reporter

The De Soto High School dance team has welcomed two new coaches, head and assistant, to lead the dance team for the 2021-22 school year. 

On March 23, DHS announced and welcomed the new head coach Anna Meissbach to join the Wildcat coaching staff. Meissbach currently teaches at Monticello Trails Middle School as a seventh-grade pathways teacher. 

“I started dancing when I was 3 and started dancing competitively when I was 6 or 7 until I graduated high school,” Meissbach said. “I started teaching dance right after I graduated and have been teaching, choreographing and guest teaching for a lot of years.”

Meissbach was trained under the direction of Karen Fender in all styles of dance. Meissbach also received many awards throughout her dance career such as two duet/trio National Championship awards. 

“Being a dance team coach has always been my dream. Since I was in high school I had an amazing coach, and when I graduated I knew one day down the road I wanted to be her. I just started teaching this year after I got my masters,” Meissbach said. 

In addition to welcoming a new dance team head coach, the Diamonds are also welcoming a new assistant coach, Gabby Stephens, former Diamond. 

“I danced for about 16 years. I started when I was 3 and I danced through my freshman year of college,” Stephens said. 

Currently, Stephens works at Children’s Mercy Hospital as a nurse and is also a dance teacher at Danceography, a local dance studio in town. 

“I loved dance team when I was in high school and college and it really impacted me. I knew the impact it had on me and the Diamonds organization had on me and I just wanted to continue that legacy,” Stephens said. 

While both coaches come from different backgrounds of dance training and teaching, they have the same mindset when entering the roles of the diamond coaches. 

“I would say my goal for this year is really to make dance a little more physical. I think sometimes the dance team, because we’re dancers, we’re not quite a sport, we’re not really an art form, we’re kind of this hybrid people don’t necessarily understand what the team is capable of,” Meissbach said. “I think bringing that out in the community will help to build the program in the future. I would love to see us grow and continue to really bring dance to the heart of the high school and also to the heart of the community.”

Stephens has many of the same goals and ideas for the Diamonds dance team including having a more normal year after the impacts of COVID-19. 

The Diamonds dance team is extremely excited to welcome two new coaches to the coaching staff and team. Meissbach and Stephens also expressed their excitement for the new season. 

“I’m really excited. I know 6 a.m. practices are going to be really hard, but they are not as bad as you think. I am excited to see what this year will bring. I love high schoolers and how determined and passionate they are,” Stephens said. 

The Diamonds start their season on June 7 with their first summer practice. This season the Diamonds will appear at all football and basketball games, as well as pep assemblies, competitions, nationals and many other activities.