Like Mother, Like Daughter

Freshman+Natalie+Robinson+during+the+daily+drill+team+practice.

Photo by Carlie Clem

Freshman Natalie Robinson during the daily drill team practice.

Story by Hannah Williams, staff writer

“5,6,7,8, turn 1,2, kick 3,4, step step leap… Kick higher, and point your toe on that leap! One more time! 5,6,7,8, turn 1,2…”

Freshman Natalie Robinson watches the drill team director demonstrate the combination. She is used to this sort of thing. Not only is Kristi Robinson the director, she is also Natalie’s mother and dance teacher outside of drill team.

 

For many people, they would not like the idea of their mother being the head of everything they do. Natalie, however, has learned to deal with it.

 

“I have always taught Natalie dance in some form or fashion,” director Kristi Robinson said. “I have either choreographed and taught her solos, taught her as part of a traveling studio competitive dance team or worked with her on technique in our studio at home.”

 

If a student were to have their mother as their teacher, they would probably refer to her as “mom” in class. Natalie does not feel that is right for the rest of the team.

 

“I have to call her Mrs. Kristi during dance or drill team because of the other girls not being able to have their mom as the teacher,” Natalie said. “It’s more of a fairness thing toward the others.”

 

Decisions may seem difficult for Kristi to make when Natalie is involved, but they aren’t based on her daughter. Decisions are made based upon what would benefit the whole team.

 

“I will always try to make the decision that is best for the whole team,” Kristi said. “I try to treat her like I would any other member of the Highsteppers. It is easier not to show nepotism in a drill team setting because the officers judge the weekly tryouts for routines and give the girls individual scores.”

 

As for Natalie, this is nothing new.

 

“I am now used to my mom being involved in everything that I am in,” Natalie said. “It is easier now that I have been doing it for so long.”

 

Kristi does not think it’s hard to think of Natalie as a dance student rather than her daughter.

 

“I have been teaching Natalie since she could walk,” Kristi said. “She has always been a student in my classes. It is really hard for Natalie to have me as her director than it is for the other girls on the team. I know her weaknesses in dance and things that she may struggle with, so it’s hard to overlook that when perfecting the dances.”

 

Natalie plans on staying on the Highsteppers all four years of high school.

 

“My mom does not take me home and practice with me,” Natalie said. “She treats me just like the rest of the team. She tells me what I have done wrong, then I go practice on my own in our little garage dance studio to better myself. When she is helping me with actual dance, she becomes a little more critical just to help me become a better dancer. She is a lot more focused on me when we are working on dances for the studio because it is one on one. We are also able to make up our own stuff and practice it as we go along, and that becomes fun for the both of us.”