Dancing queen

Senior Audra Harrell is dancing her way to graduation


Kennedy Miller and Bella Murdock

     Early mornings, loads of hairspray, intense makeup, matching costumes. These comprise most of the NHS dance team’s weekends. Competitions are one of the special times the team gets to showcase their talents in front of a large audience. One dancer in particular who loves the rush of performing is senior Audra Harrell.

    After 16 years of performing, Harrell claims to have been comfortable in the spotlight her whole life.
    “My favorite memories with dance are competing. I like the feeling [when performing], the rush of adrenaline,” Harrell said. “I’ve always loved it.”    

    Senior Maddie LeBlanc has known Harrell for 9 years, but her favorite memory of them together is more recent.

    “Audra and I, along with another one of our senior teammates, are doing a hip hop trio to compete with for competition,” LeBlanc said. “We’ve had so much fun putting in a lot of hard work for it.”

    Harrell’s presence has a positive impact on not only LeBlanc, but the entire team.

    “She is crazy talented, very humble, and has always inspired me to work harder and get better,” LeBlanc said. “She keeps everyone laughing and motivated at practice. I’m going to miss dancing with her everyday.”

    Harrell is not only an athlete at NHS, she is also involved with a dance ministry at her church called “Precious Hearts.” According to Harrell, the ballet-oriented ministry is still relatively new and welcoming of all age groups.
    “It’s kind of small, I’m actually the only teen right now,” Harrell said. “There are mostly children and adults.”
    According to Harrell, teamwork is very important for a team. Dance is a sport about perfection so everyone has to be on their toes all the time, literally. She claims that if being a dancer has taught her anything, it is the importance of communication and speaking her mind.
    “We’re not always going to see eye to eye,” Harrell said. “You might see something that someone else didn’t see, so you have to be able to speak up and say ‘hey, we gotta get this together.’”

    As seniors, LeBlanc and Harrell take on more responsibilities with helping the team improve.

    “We lead the team by example through positivity and motivating each other with encouragement,” LeBlanc says.

    Dance team coach Bailey Mann said she appreciates the energy Harrell brings to the team as a friend and teammate.

    “She’s always willing to offer a hug and nice words when people need it,” Mann said.

    The team is very close-knit, according to Harrell. The diverse group of girls comes together to dance and have fun.
    “We’re a big family,” Harrell says. “You go in[to the team] thinking you might not make friends, but we’re all very open to changes and new things.”
    Not only does Harrell dance, but she also plays ukulele. Her passion for the arts is shared with her whole family. According to Harrell, her sister is a photographer, her mother is a music teacher, and her father plays guitar.
    “They’re my biggest supporters,” Harrell says.
    In the future, Harrell says she plans on dancing in college, but not as a career. Instead, she wants to study at Ball State University to become a physical education teacher, then go on to become a dance therapist.
    “I thought dance therapy would be a good fit because it’s like music therapy but with dance,” Harrell says. “When I went to therapy, it all kind of felt set into place by talking to this person. But with dance you can show so many emotions without talking.”