Niccum dances her way to Huntley High School

By Jessy Gone

As the bell for fourth period rings, students rush through the hallways, dreading their next class. While most take their time, junior Olivia Schramm eagerly rushes through the crowds to get to her favorite class: dance.

Once changed into her physical education uniform, Schramm walks to the east gym and is greeted with a smile from the new dance teacher, Cadence Niccum. Niccum is the new teacher for the dance physical education classes, including Dance I, Dance II, and Advanced Dance.

After stretching, the dancers circle around Niccum as she asks questions to learn more about each of her students. She makes it a priority to get to know her students and make connections with each of them. 

“I love all of my students and all of the bonds I have created with them. I feel [they are] fairly strong, and I’m excited to see what happens in the future,” Niccum said.

Her students see how much effort she puts into trying to make connections with them and appreciate that she takes the time to do so.

“It’s nice to know that somebody cares about you, other than just academically,” Schramm said.

Physical education dance classes are open to anyone, so people with years of experience and those with no experience can be in the same class. While class can be challenging at times, Niccum strives to push her students enough to make them learn new dance skills.

Niccum uses her 22 years of dance experience, including being on Illinois State University’s Redline Express team and teaching at multiple schools and dance studios to expose her students to as many genres of dance.

“She provides me the opportunity to experience different styles of dance that I normally wouldn’t try,” sophomore Keira Darnall said.

While her dance classes are physical education courses, Niccum tries to help her students surround themselves in dance and be able to connect it back to their everyday lives.

School can be extremely stressful, but Niccum’s class serves as a break for her students to take their minds off of their other classes and do something they love. Niccum makes her class a safe and positive environment, allowing her students to thrive.

“She understands that dance should be fun, it shouldn’t be stressful or intimidating,” Schramm said.

As well as teaching dance classes, Niccum is also the orchesis director. Auditions were held on Nov. 10, and rehearsals will begin next week for the performance in February. 

“I hope that I can open everybody up to dance so everybody can see that dance is a fun and challenging thing to do,” Niccum said. “I want to change how everybody looks at orchesis and dance classes; I want to continue to build the program up.”

Niccum has been a great addition to the physical education department this year. The effort she puts into making connections with her students and exposing them to the world of dance is clearly shown. Her students look forward to her class and are excited to see how much more they will learn from her this year.