Jessica Anderson, Danielle Schneider, and Hayley DuLong have been selected as the 2022 Dance Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) Dance coaches of the year. They have coached high school dance for 16, 17 and 14 years, respectively.
The DDCA coach of the year award was first presented in 1993 and recognizes coaches who have demonstrated outstanding coaching characteristics during the previous year. Candidates are nominated and selected by the DDCA membership.
Jessica Anderson, Valley Catholic, has been a dancer all of her life.
She is an inspiration and an excellent role model. She advocates for dance team and the DDCA community.
As head coach of the Charisma for the past 16 years, Anderson has impacted the lives of countless young women. She is an innovative choreographer, a tireless advocate for her team and a fearless dreamer.
In addition to being a dedicated coach, Anderson served two terms on the DDCA board where she was able to give back to the sport that has meant so much to her.
In addition to coaching the Charisma, she has been part of many programs as a guest choreographer and adviser.
A proud alumna of the Wilsonville Pride, dance team has been a foundational piece of her life and a constant source of pride and inspiration. Not even medical school could stop Anderson from coaching the sport she loves.
One of her favorite parts of coaching is watching the amazing growth a dancer can achieve in just one season. Her kindness and patience allow all dancers to achieve their greatest potential and to experience the absolute magic that is dance team.
Over the last two years Anderson has joined all of the dancers and coaches in persevering through the heartbreaking and unimaginable challenge of keeping a team together through a pandemic. Through Zoom practices, masked competitions and uncertainty she helped teach her dancers a lesson that is so much bigger than any sport: Don’t. Give. Up.
Danielle Schneider, Parkrose, has been an active member of the Oregon dance community for 20 years. She was certified as a performance judge in 2002 and began coaching a high school team in 2005. She has continued to serve as both a coach and a judge every year since.
She has served in a variety of DDCA leadership roles, including judges scheduling director, board member and board chair. She is currently communications director and chair-elect and will become board chair once again in April.
Schneider believes in the importance of making dancers feel valued. In a sport that often doesn’t see media coverage, she has volunteered as a contributing author at OSAAToday. Since 2019, she has written articles highlighting student athletes, competition results and coaching accomplishments.
She believes strongly in the value of giving back. She approaches her involvement in the dance community as her way to pay forward the experiences she had as a high school dancer by making opportunities available for future generations. Last year, she launched the DDCA’s first ever Giving Tuesday campaign resulting in more than $5,800 raised for the scholarship fund.
Schneider has been instrumental in creating new opportunities for dancers statewide. Under her leadership, the DDCA launched the state’s first-ever Category Championship in 2009. She served as the event director for four years before passing the baton. In 2018, she started an annual showcase for the Northwest Oregon Conference dance teams. This event is an opportunity for conference teams to perform and for dancers to receive individual honors.
With the COVID pandemic presenting an opportunity to re-evaluate, she also took the chance to make changes within her own program. This year, Parkrose competed in Pom and showcased sideline routines for the first time in the program’s 31-year history. She relaunched the district’s middle school dance program to create a feeder for her high school team. Eighteen students are participating, and the team is coached by two alumni dancers.
Hayley DuLong, Lake Oswego, has been head coach of her alma mater for 14 years.
This year, she has 28 awesome dancers on her team. Her mission this season was to give them every memory making opportunity possible.
This year, Laker Dance practiced more than it ever had as a program to ensure that the team could "do it all" and have fun, too. The team kicked off the year with camps, qualified for Nationals, danced at every football halftime, kicked up its sideline routines, participated in the homecoming parade, held a youth clinic for 100 kids, competed two routines in the fall, practiced over winter break, headed to UDA Nationals in February, performed at basketball halftimes and competed at the OSAA State dance/drill championships. It's been a busy season, and a great one.
For her participation with the DDCA, DuLong is currently a DDCA board member. She is partnering with Marlena Nunley on all-state and is the secretary-elect. DuLong has thoroughly enjoyed working with these amazing members of DDCA to bring back all of the events we've missed over the last two years.
“Throughout our time as Laker Dancers, she has taught us more than just dance,” shared seniors Laker Dancers. “She has shown us all how to be strong, independent women in every aspect of our lives. She always pushes us to do our best no matter what. She has taught us it’s about the journey and all the memories and relationships built along the way. The past four years have been some of our favorite memories because of her and her hard work and dedication to each of us.”