Episode 84: University of Kentucky Dance Team Coach, Dawn Walters
We’re going back in the archives today with an interview from 2020 with the amazing Dawn Walters of The University of Kentucky Dance Team. Dawn’s approach to coaching is so relatable and refreshing. She has such genuine advice and a superpower as a coach. We talk about opening the door for more dancers of different genres and backgrounds to join a big university program. She really led us behind the curtain and shared how she runs practices, how she cleans her routines, and even how her coaching style has changed. She was really open with me when we got into some of the hard stuff and we talked about addressing race in the dance team industry and protecting yourself as a coach from that one angry parent who could tear it all down.
Dawn was a UK cheerleader and dancer, and she started coaching UK in 2009. She has a long list of accomplishments including national titles, starting her own all-star gym, judging for top competitions, and, of course, just impacting so many young lives through her program at The University of Kentucky. I hope this beautiful interview brings you a dose of motivation and inspiration as we head into competition season.
It felt like I had to have a weave or I had to do this to my hair because otherwise I wouldn't have made the team or I wouldn't have been able to do things. That’s what I really hoped that the dialogue and the communication would be there so then your kids of color and your Black kids would feel like, “Wow. I’m accepted.”Dawn Walters
Key Highlights –
- [1m 53s] Team Culture
- [7m 52s] Dawn’s Two Teams: The White Squad and The Blue Squad
- [11m 23s] How Dawn Runs Team Practice
- [19m 27s] Dawn’s Cleaning Style
- [25m 15s] Go with the Flow!
- [27m 01s] You Cannot Treat All Your Dancers the Same
- [32m 10s] What Dawn Would Like to See Change in Our Dance World
- [37m 30s] Dawn’s Biggest Challenge as a Coach
- [42m 41s] Dawn’s Favorite Memory as a Coach
- [45m 07s] Dawn’s Advice for Coaches
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