While it’s a short trip to Ann Arbor, it’s a challenging and oftentimes difficult journey to the University of Michigan – one that requires hard work, commitment and incredible dedication. Dexter’s Charlotte Hawley danced her way to U-M, but landing a spot on one of the best dance teams in the country was another amazing accomplishment earned through years of hard work, commitment and incredible dedication.
Charlotte, the daughter of Sarah and Kevin Hawley, has been dancing for as long as she can remember. “My parents put me in classes when I was very young, about two or three, and little did they know I would fall in love with it,” she says. “My interest increased as I got older, and I ended up taking more and more classes each year. I think I truly realized my love of dance when I was able to perform with my studio at competitions on stage.”
Dancing at such an elite level requires a major time commitment and dedication. Hawley says she dances almost every day.
“We focus on improving technique and skills as well as building strength,” she says. “There is nothing else required of us to be on the dance team but I think everyone does exercises on their own. For me, I like to run to improve stamina as well as strength training at home to help me with turns, jumps, and other technical skills.”
Hawley, 18, has been a member of the Dexter High School dance team for the last four years. And what a great four years they have been, capped off by a brilliant senior season.
Dexter placed ninth overall in the UDA Virtual Nationals this year.
“Overall, we had a very successful season,” Hawley said. “We were able to participate in a virtual competition as well as one in-person along with the virtual nationals. Although this year was nothing like any other season before, I think that we overcame the challenges and ended up with one of the best seasons yet.”
Looking back, Hawley is proud of what the Dreadnaughts achieved during her four years dancing with Dexter. The team advanced to the semifinals at nationals all four years and also placed first several times in the University of Michigan dance competition.
“What I am most proud of is the growth that this team has demonstrated over the past four years,” she says. “It is truly amazing. Being a part of this team will always be one of my favorite memories in high school. I don’t really know how to describe what it is like to be a member on this team other than incredibly impactful. Our bond is amazing and I love these girls with my whole heart, they are truly my best friends.”
Hawley approaches the day the same way with the same goal. “My goal is to work hard every day and see improvement at every competition,” she says.
That hard work and improvement paid off as the Wolverines will now be her dance partner for the next four years.