CEDAR RAPIDS — State champion.
The 2016 state soloist runner-up.
These were all titles awarded to sophomore Cassidy Erner as a member of the Cedar Rapids Xavier Pom Team.
Sadly, it is time for her to move on.
Erner began her pom career as the only freshman on varsity. She performed in her final season as the only sophomore.
“Sometimes it is hard not being able to share the thing I love with people in my grade,” Erner said. “But, poms is something unique to me and I would not change that.”
After a long and difficult decision, Erner reluctantly made the commitment to an all new dance program at her studio, The Dancer’s Edge (TDE). This new dedication would force her to quit poms in order to have more time in the studio.
Freshmen Hannah Hinkel and Taylor Coester also have chosen to pursue dance over poms.
“I enjoy both poms and dance, but I knew what I had to do,” Erner said. “My love is for dance, and I never want to stop.”
TDE’s new team is made up of an elite group of senior dancers. Dance categories such as contemporary, jazz and lyrical will be featured within the program.
The program requires a larger time commitment to practices and competitions. However, more studio time will earn the dancers more opportunities to compete and show off their skills and routines.
The new challenge will prepare them for dance after their time at the studio comes to an end.
“The ultimate goal is being a part of the dance team at Minnesota or Iowa,” Erner said. “This team will make more of an impact than poms ever could.”
This prestigious team does not only affect Xavier’s dancers, but other schools’ pom teams as well. Linn-Mar sophomore Katie Tomash supports Erner’s decision.
“I am really looking forward to seeing how Cassidy will grow as a dancer,” Tomash said. “Poms has a horrible impact on your body and technique. This way her training will be consistent.”
After weighing the pros and cons, Tomash chose to join Erner and the rest of the team, resulting in the forfeit of her varsity position.
“I think we are both sad because poms was such a big part of who we are, but dance is even bigger,” Erner said.
As a studio dancer, Erner has earned the Champion’s Judges’ Choice Award, Parade of Stars Award, People’s Choice Award and countless first place awards.
Now, she is expecting a lot more.
Even though this decision came with a lot of tears and bittersweet feelings, Erner is excited to expand on her career while doing what she loves.