FLDT alums join UDA staff

Moore, Ohman are first Rangers hired by world’s largest dance company


The “firsts” keep rolling in for the Forest Lake Dance Team, even months after a record-breaking season in which the squad earned its first Suburban East Conference championship.

Recent Forest Lake High School graduates Ashley Moore, left, and Jackie Ohman will spend the summer leading dance camps across three Midwestern states. (Photo submitted)

Recent Ranger graduates Ashley Moore and Jackie Ohman have been named instructors for the Universal Dance Association. They are the first Forest Lake team members to ever join what is the largest dance company in the world with over 40,000 girls participating in over 750 camps each summer.

The 2011-12 Ranger co-captains were chosen from hundreds of applicants in the Midwest region. They will spend the summer leading camps in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

“It is such an honor for Jackie and Ashley, but also for our program of dance here at Forest Lake,” said head coach Cheryl Smoczyk. “I got this chance as a young person and it was a game-changer for me, traveling, opening new worlds and meeting new people.  I am so very proud of these outstanding young women.”

The door opened for Moore and Ohman last summer, when FLDT attended a UDA camp and they were told to apply for positions on the staff in 2012. The big challenge was a tryout where they had to teach their own choreography to a panel of judges and also demonstrate their dancing skills.

“We are looking for the whole package,” said Katie Balfanz, a nine-state director for UDA and former Ranger assistant coach. “We want instructors who are good at dance, but also good at teaching and forming relationships.”

After their first summer with UDA, the former Rangers are both off to college. Moore will attend Iowa State University. Ohman has secured the Minnesota Association of Dance Teams scholarship and will attend Minnesota State University – Moorhead. It marks the first collegiate dance scholarship in Forest Lake history.