MARSHALL - They've been in Marshall Just for Kix since they were youngsters, and seniors Hannah Pfeiffer, Shelbie Thomsen and Bailey Tomasek have enjoyed every minute of it.
After years of getting ready for competitions and shows, the three will grace the stage one last time for the upcoming Just for Kix spring show "Dance to the Music."
The spring show, which will feature dancers from age 3 through seniors in high school, will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in the Marshall High School gym.
Pictured are Marshall Just for Kix dancers Shelbie Thomsen, Bailey Tomasek and Hannah Pfeiffer. After more than a decade with JFK, the three will perform one last time for the annual spring show.
Thomsen and Pfeiffer said they joined Just for Kix when they were 5 years old. Tomasek was just 3. Dance just became a part of their lives for many years.
"I made lasting friendships because a lot of my friends were in dance, and it was easy for me to enjoy it," Pfeiffer said.
"I just stayed with it because it's something fun to do, and it helps relieve your stress throughout the years," Thomsen said.
"It also helps you with life lessons and developing self-confidence and helps you with other things," Tomasek said.
All three are head instructors with Marshall Just for Kix. Pfeiffer and Thomsen started teaching their sophomore year. Tomasek subbed last year, with this season being her first full year of teaching dance. This year, Thomsen's taught Twinkler Jazz, Wee Petite first-graders, Starmaker Jazz A, Wee Kix second-graders, Junior Jazz Shining Stars and Senior Kix. Pfeiffer teaches junior and senior lyrical and Rising Star Jazz. Tomasek teaches the Teeny Kix (3-year-olds), Tiny Kix (4- to 5-year-olds), Wee Petite kindergarten and hip hop.
"Right now, I'm teaching second-graders through seniors," Thomsen said.
"I think teaching them, they (the younger dancers) look up to us," Pfeiffer said. Plus they helps the girls keep up with the program, she said.
"It's fun to see how much they grow throughout the year, see how much they changed," Tomasek said.
JFK?Director Jackie Olson said she seen the three girls' dance talent develop throughout the years.
"They've just been dedicated and committed and ended up teaching for me," Olson said. It inspires the younger dancers, Olson said. "I think it's neat they've stuck with it."
The three said they liked being part of the annual Just for Kix shows.
"They're really fun," Thomsen said about the JFK shows. "I know Jackie gets stressed. Once the show starts, there's less stress, and you're excited to go out there and perform."
Pfeiffer said the shows are a good way for those who can't come to competitions to see what JFK is all about - marketing in a way so more girls would be encouraged to join. Thomsen said that she had gone to a JFK show before joining the organization.
"I think it's grown a lot, and that Jackie is a main part of why it's so successful," Tomasek said.
Thomsen said she's looking forward to the show's grand finale - "Dance to the Music," which features second-grade dancers through seniors.
"That will be fun to see all the girls together on the floor," Thomsen said.
Thomsen said several dancers will be doing solos and doubles throughout the spring show.
The three seniors said they've been grateful to Olson's mentorship.
"Jackie has been such an influence on all of our lives, how we've grown from girls to women," Pfeiffer said.
"She's been there for anything we might need," Thomsen said.
"She's more than just a dance teacher," Tomasek said. She's like a second mom, the dancers said.
As for their future in dance, Tomasek said that although the college she plans to attend does not have dance, she would like to continue to coach. Pfeiffer is not sure, but she's going to look into it, exploring all her options.
"I am not sure yet but want to keep some aspect of dance involved in my life," Thomsen said.