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Friday, April 6, 2018

MISD Teacher Leads Junior Step Team to Success

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It’s hard to imagine that Christy Heath didn’t even know what stepping was five years ago. The dance form, which uses the body to produce rhythmic sounds through footsteps and handclaps, was a new concept to her.

Heath was introduced to it when she was asked to help with the administrative side of a step team at her previous school district.

“I had no clue what stepping even was, but I was in marching band, so I knew about form, timing and precision,” she explained.

The following year, the math teacher became the main coach for the group, leading her team to back-to-back national titles. She came to Mansfield ISD in 2015 and revitalized the step team at Mary Lillard Intermediate School.

“I simply asked them if they wanted to compete or not, and they were all gung-ho about competing,” she said. “So I signed them up to compete, and that year they did go to nationals.”

The girls practice after school at Lillard Intermediate
during competition season.
The Powerhouse Steppers, which also includes students from Danny Jones Middle School, didn’t win the national title, but they kept pushing themselves to learn harder routines and compete with the best step teams in the area.

As a result, the group was named 2018 league champions of the Texas Dance and Step Association.

The steppers said that performing is fun, but they also value the relationships they develop with team members.

“We’re like a family,” said Camryn Morgan, seventh-grader at Danny Jones Middle School. “We help each other, we motivate each other and we just have each other’s backs.”

The group started working together with neighboring Lake Ridge High School to get the younger team familiar with their future teammates and coaches.

“When we’re at competition, they’re supporting us, we’re supporting them, and it’s just ‘Bring it home to Mansfield. Bring it home to Mansfield’ every time,” said Heath.

The Powerhouse Steppers earned five trophies for the 2017-18 school year, placing in nearly every compeition. Their season will resume in August.