I grew up with six siblings, and I was the youngest. To this day I am still the “baby.” Sometimes I envied my best friend who was an only child, but most of the time I would not trade my large family for the world.
Siblings teach us so much and really shape who we are; for example, I was never afraid to talk to boys growing up because I had four brothers. Siblings can also be great motivators and support systems. For three sister pairs on the Tumwater High School (THS) dance team, nothing could be more true.
Tia and Nalani Matautia
Tia and Nalani have danced for most of their lives. Tia, the eldest, is now 18 and has started college at University of Washington. But she did get to be on the Tumwater High School dance team with Nalani, now 16 and a junior at THS, which she was really happy about. “My sister and I have always done everything together, and so when she made the decision to join the dance team her freshman year of high school, I couldn’t have been more excited to share the experience with her and introduce her to a whole new world of dance,” says Tia.
Both girls say that hip hop is their favorite type of dance because they love the intensity and hard movements. For Nalani the best part is drawing closer to her sibling. “What I like most about dancing with my sister is that we have something in common. Tia is two and a half years older than I am, so if it weren’t for dance, I don’t think we would be as close as we are now,” she suggests.
For Tia, watching her younger sister develop on the team was the best part. “Since she has joined the team, I have absolutely loved watching her grow, not only in her strengths as a dancer but as a human being and a leader as well,” she says. “Throughout my high school dance career we have successfully built one another up in our personal journeys as dancers.”
The girls also said that there was no sibling rivalry, though Nalani is following in her sister’s footsteps. Tia was hip hop captain and this year Nalani is hip hop lieutenant, with the hopes of being a captain next year. “I love my sister. She is my role model, my best friend, my superhero, my teammate, my motivation,” Nalani explains. “She pushes me to be the best I can be, and I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to dance with her. If it wasn’t for my sister, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
Kyler Reid and Chloe Boyer
Nicola Reid started her daughters, Kyler and Chloe, in dance when they were seven and six respectively. “Dance was a huge commitment for our girls. It consisted of many nights of practice, conventions, competitions, recitals and performances,” says Nicola. “Being on the team together taught them to support one another through the ups and downs.”
As Nicola mentions, when you are on a team, you cannot ignore problems with someone you may not like because you are going to see them every day at practice, and you have to work with them. This includes your sibling, who is also your teammate. Chloe, now 17, mentions that sometimes at dance she and her sister argue. “What sisters don’t? But we always had each other no matter what,” she adds. Her favorite dance is contemporary because she can make it her own and really express herself.
18-year-old Kyler explains, “Having Chloe to grow up with and do something together we both enjoyed made it that much better. We share a passion for dancing, and doing it with my sister is beyond special to me.” Kyler loves performing jazz and hip hop. The hardest part about dance for her? “When she and I danced for the last time together at state because I didn’t want it to end,” Kyler offers.
Maddy and Isabel Martinez
Maddy, now 17, and Isabel, now 15, both started dancing at 3-years-old with Prairie Dance Center in Yelm. Both girls have danced since then for both school and rec programs. Isabel competed for Tumwater Parks and Rec , and they both danced at Bush Middle School and now at Tumwater High School.
“Being on a team together taught them to be supportive of one another and help each other through the tough times,” says their mother, Christine Rawls. “This team has taught them how to have a great work ethic, why it is important to be coachable and how to problem solve and work as part of a team. All things that are important as an adult.”
These sisters were not as excited about their sibling being involved in the same sport at first. Maddy, the eldest, said she wanted to do something that was all her own and Isabel said that she did not really have a choice, since her sister was older and already participating.
But the pair learned the perks of working together very quickly. Both girls said that the sibling rivalry was there, but that it made them work harder. Isabel adds, “Knowing I have someone who supports me is one of the great things about having my sister on my team.” For Maddy, having her sister around meant something important. “If we were going somewhere, I had someone to bounce ideas off of.”
Christine agrees that the girls have not only grown closer because of the dance team but have learned that hard work pays off. “In this case, it’s in the form of state and national titles that only hard work and perseverance can bring,” she says.
All three sister acts learned that having their sibling on your team can push them to work harder and be better. And when things go wrong, they each have a shoulder to lean on and a person who loves them in a way that only a sibling can.