Taylor Cropley: Alum Returns Home


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Dance Team poses in Des Moines at the state competition.

The 2022-2023 school year brought many firsts to the Kennedy Dance Team. First-year teammates, first times at Iowa City West’s “Wild West Dance Battle” and a new first-time coach. Taylor Cropley took over head coaching the dance from previous coach Miranda Arends. 

Cropley worked under Arends as an assistant coach during the 2021-2022 season and took over as head coach this year.

“The transition from assistant coach to head coach hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be,” said Cropley. “Don’t get me wrong, it has been a big adjustment, but the girls, my assistant coach and the parents have been incredible to have this year as I work through the change.”

Cropley herself graduated from Kennedy in 2014 and was a part of the dance team for her whole high school career.

When I was in high school I never thought I would coach at such a big school for my first coaching experience,” Cropley said. “I’m thankful [Aaron] Stecker gave me this opportunity. I mean who doesn’t want to coach for their old team and be back at home?”

@kennedyvarsitydanceteam on Instagram

Kennedy’s dance team has gone through significant changes in recent years, one of which was growing to 18 members, over double the size of last year’s group. However, some traditions have stayed the same. Christmas Kick, Spring Co-Ed and performing at football games are all traditions that have continued for many years.

Even though Cropley was on the dance team in high school, she only spent one year as an assistant coach before taking on the role of head coach.

My first year has been nothing short of amazing. Growing the team from eight dancers to 18 was a shock to me. The girls and parents have been the best to work with for [my] first year,” Cropley said.

In early December, the dance team traveled to Des Moines to compete at state, placing eighth in Poms and sixth in both Jazz and Lyrical. Dance team will travel to Chicago to compete at the Universal Dance Association Chicagoland Dance Challenge after the winter break.Cropley says she hopes to coach for as long as she can. “It fulfills something inside of me that nothing else does. Getting to work with talented, hard working athletes is a blessing.”