Bella Bauer and Lily Weiss are Juniors at Penn and compete on the Competition Dance Team in the Senior division for duet and solos, and 3A for pom and hip hop. Last year they placed second in the state for their duet in the junior division.
Why did you guys start dancing?
Lily Weiss: “Really started dancing because of a mother daughter class I took with my mom when I was 2, but I’ve danced ever since then and have loved it ever since.”
Bella Bauer: “ I started dancing when I was around 9 or 10. Mainly it was just for fun and something to do with my friends. As I grew older though, I began to take dance a lot more seriously and it has become a really big part of my life. I love dance so much as it gives me a place to just have fun and keep my mind away from whatever might be bothering me that day. I also get to be with some of my closest friends when I am at dance and we always know how to have fun and there is always lots of laughs.”
How much work led up to this accomplishment?
Lily Weiss: “We both put in a lot of work to accomplish what we did, with many practices outside of our 5-6 days a week of classes already, and even working on skills outside of dance.
Bella Bauer: “There was definitely lots and lots of work that led up to where we were in our placement at state. There were many practices just dedicated for duet and choreographing and cleaning the routine. Not only that, but technique and style classes every weekday and sometimes weekend practices where we are constantly improving our skills and technique that it takes to complete the routines we are given. It definitely is a lot of work but it was very rewarding and paid off. “
How did it feel to take the floor at state?
Lily Weiss: ”It felt so amazing to know that all of our hard work had paid off as we had made it all the way to state, and it was super fun to compete together for the last time that season.”
Bella Bauer: “This hadn’t been the first time we had taken the floor, as our 8th grade year Lilly and I had also done our first ever duet together. We also had both done solos this year and the previous year. But, even with it not being new for us, I was still insanely nervous but also super excited. There is always a huge rush of adrenaline especially as you are walking out on that floor, hearing all of your teammates and the crowd cheering you on. The loud voice of the announcer telling you to take your place on the floor. It all feels so surreal and like your dreaming, but it is such an amazing experience.”
What is it like being duet partners?
Lily Weiss: “I Love being partners with Bella, she is an amazing dancer and I think we dance pretty well together! I think our friendship outside of dance also helps with our cohesiveness while we dance.”
Bella Bauer: “Lilly and I have been friends outside of dance for as long as I can remember. We have such a strong friendship and so many fun memories, and a lot of those were made in the studio together. Because we’re so close, we are able to trust and rely on each other while we’re dancing which makes for a great team. We have a genuine connection that shows while we are out on the floor, and makes for a more entertaining and captivating performance. “
How is your bond outside of dance?
Lily Weiss: “We are super close and she has been one of my best friends since elementary school, and we have only gotten closer after we started doing duets.”
Bella Bauer: “Like I said, Lilly and I have been close for a very long time and we have so many fun memories together. Lilly and I love to just talk to each other and I love just being in her company. She can always make me laugh and is always there for me whenever I need her. She is one of my best friends and I couldn’t imagine life without her in it.”
How many practices did your duet take to choreograph?
Lily Weiss: “I honestly don’t know the exact number, but it took many weekend practices and practicing before and after regular classes.”
Bella Bauer: “Our duet for this year was actually intended to be for our freshman year. We had the music picked out and had already started choreographing the routine and everything. I ended up having an injury to my groin before the start of the season and we decided not to compete the duet that year. So we started up with it again for our sophomore year and it ended up being the duet we competed and got 2nd in the state with. Because of this, I couldn’t really tell you how many practices there were, but it was a work in progress for about two years.”
How does it feel to be 2nd in the state?
Lily Weiss: “It feels amazing to know that all of our hard work has paid off, I am super proud of our accomplishment!”
Bella Bauer: “Insane. I remember sitting there, knots in my stomach and Lilly and I both just looking at each other as they called down each placement. We went into it not expecting anything at all and then they got down to 2nd place. I remember my heart beating so fast and the second they announced our names, it was a burst of excitement. It was such an amazing feeling and a moment that I will never forget. We had worked so hard and it was so very rewarding.”
Has being duet partners made you closer than before?
Lily Weiss: “For sure, although we were always close I think dancing together made our friendship even stronger.”
Bella Bauer: “I would for sure say that we have gotten closer from being duet partners. It gave us more time to hang out with each other one on one and there are so many funny moments and memories from all of our practices together. Being duet partners has also made us more comfortable with each other and given us the chance to know each other even better.”
What goes through your head while performing?
Lily Weiss: “Most of the time I am focusing on the choreography in my head, but after performing so many times it came more naturally and I honestly would think about how much I enjoyed performing the dance.”
Bella Bauer: “So many thoughts. Most of the time when I’m dancing out on the floor, I can’t hear anything but the music and my thoughts. I’m constantly telling myself “don’t mess up” or counting the music in my head. Also in practice sometimes we will make sounds to the music to help us better understand and remember what we are doing and that’s what will play on repeat as I’m dancing. Definitely a whirlwind of thoughts all at once.”
What are your favorite styles of dance and why?
Lily Weiss: “I really enjoy jazz, poms, and ballet because I prefer more exact moves and technical skills which are use a lot more in these styles”
Bella Bauer: “I love all styles of dance but I would have to say that my two favorite styles of dance are hip hop and lyrical. I love lyrical as it is a style where I can show emotion and just move with the music. It feels so freeing and just makes me so happy. Hip hop is the same. It’s very different from lyrical but also very similar. It’s a completely different feeling in terms of the movement but it is so fun to get all hype and just groove to the music. Dance overall just brings me so much joy and all of the styles offer something new and different.”