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Lynette’s dancers are set for the 2019 Citrus Bowl

December 15, 2018

Performers from Lynette’s Dance Studio are working hard preparing for one of the biggest shows of their lives: The Citrus Bowl.

“They are representing Columbus, Nebraska and their families on a national level so that’s pretty cool,” said owner and dance instructor Lynette Hogelin.

After three years of preparation, the wait for Jan. 1 is almost over. It’s the day 22 Columbus dancers are set to perform during the halftime show of the 2019 Citrus Bowl, an annual college football game played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The game is being played between the Penn State Nittany Lions of the Big Ten Conference and the Kentucky Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference.

Due to overall trip expenses, the group returns to perform at the bowl game once every three years. Hogelin said this will be the her studio’s eighth time participating in the event since 2001.

Hogelin’s group will be taking the stage with hundreds of other dancers from across the nation. The dance routine was released by event organizers just after Thanksgiving. Since then, dancers have been spending most of their evenings practicing in the studio.

Each participating dance group will meet before the show to conduct a complete rundown of the routine together.

“We’ve been practicing, really making everything sharp and look good,” said 16-year-old dancer Makenzie Enderlin.

The routine changes in accordance with the different theme set for that year. This year’s show is a tribute to legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, who passed away at the age of 76 in August.

“It’s fun to put it all together and know that we are going to be part of something bigger in the end,” said 16-year-old dancer Emily Hall, who has been dancing for more than a decade.

Hall said it was a different experience learning her dance routine from a video rather than one choreographed by her instructor.

However, because of Hogelin’s 35 years of teaching experience and guidance, Hall said the dancers are in good shape.

Hogelin submitted a tape to event organizers several years ago showcasing her dancers’ routines and skills. Since then, she has been bringing different groups of dancers to perform during the event.

“I just get teary and goosebumps every time,” Hogelin said. “It just makes my heart so happy to see them out there.”

Travel expenses were one of the major obstacles dancers had to overcome in order to see their dreams come to fruition. They spent the last two years hosting fundraisers and gathering community support.

The different fundraising efforts included selling glow-in-the-dark accessories during the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Red, White, KaBoom” extravaganza and hosting a golf tournament.

“We try to give the girls an opportunity to raise money but also to give something back … like a service to the community,” Hogelin said. “We feel like that’s very important.”

Looking back, dancers said they appreciate the support they received from their families, friends and community members.

Dancers are looking forward to performing outside their comfort zone. They’ve strutted the stages at the annual Lawnchairs on the Square, Columbus Days, Columbus Community Hospital’s butterfly release event and at area schools.

“We are just all excited to be going to (Orlando) and sharing our talents and dancing with everybody else,” said 14-year-old dancer Grace Baue.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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