Five, Six, Seven, Eight: Hannah Shea Leads Woodbridge High’s Dance Team as Captain

From jazz to contemporary, this year’s dance team captain Hannah Shea successfully leads her team through their fall field show season and into their spring competition season


Somer Alrai

Hannah Shea, the captain of the dance team, poses with her team during their practice to prepare for the Winter pep rally.

In May 2022, senior Hannah Shea was selected as the new Woodbridge High dance team captain, learning the news at the team’s end of the year banquet.

“We have a really intense process,” dance teacher Hanne Schmidt said. The dance team captain is chosen not only based on their dance and choreography abilities, but also through an interview, community service project and the teaching of a class. For her community service project, Shea organized the team’s costume closet.

Shea’s path to this leadership role all began with her first ballet class at 5 years old.

“I was mainly at [the] Maple Conservatory of Dance,” Shea said. “I was only really trained in ballet.” Since then, however, she has branched out to many other styles.

Especially on the dance team, members perform many different kinds of dance. Only familiar with ballet, Shea was initially pushed out of her comfort zone, but is now able to and enjoys performing in hip hop, jazz, contemporary and more.

“This has been an expansion of styles for her,” Schmidt said. As her dance teacher at Woodbridge High, Schmidt has seen Shea build on her ballet foundations and explore different movements through the various styles the dance team performs in.

Despite having tried other artistic sports like ice skating, Shea finds that dance holds a unique role in her life and is truly where her passion lies.

“I feel like dance really allows me to express my feelings, and I think that it’s really freeing once you get into the various movements,” Shea said.

Having started her fourth year on the dance team, Shea continues to explore new styles and ways of moving. As dance team captain, she has also been able to get involved in new ways.

“[Hannah] works with our coaches to plan our weekly meeting schedules…She’s also choreographed a huge part of our field show,” dance team member and junior Keren Brown said.

Shea not only helps as a leader with the organizational and choreographing aspects of the dance team, but also actively works to create a strong sense of community; her favorite part of being on the dance team.

“[Hannah] is really inspiring. She helps make everyone feel welcome,” Brown said.

In fact, the close bonds formed between all dance team members is one of Shea’s favorite parts of being on the team.

“I think the sense of community we all have, it’s more of a family. Each year, as we gain new members, it’s always really cool that we find new people and how they express how they dance as well,” Shea said.

Moreover, Shea has learned to multitask through dance, impacting even her life as a high school student. Both Shea and Brown agree dance has taught them time management, juggling honors classes with zero period and afternoon dance rehearsals.

With the fall field season coming to an end, Shea looks forward to the spring competition season with the dance team and getting to learn and perform new pieces. She is also excited about doing more with the Halo Dance for Autism club. This club works to raise awareness of autism through dance and partners with Warrior Nation, Woodbridge High’s special education community. As the club’s president, Shea hopes to continue doing fun activities with Warrior Nation, like holiday dances and participating in pep rallies together.

In the future, Shea hopes to continue dancing. She is currently applying to many of the University of California schools as a dance major.