PINEVILLE -- Kylie Kimbrough, 16, attended the Universal Dance Association (UDA) dance camp in Branson alongside her MC Pom team and coach Eden LeGrand. Kimbrough, an incoming junior at McDonald County High School, is the first dancer from MC Pom to be named All-American.
Kimbrough, a returning member of the MC Pom team, attended alongside her team and approximately 16 additional teams at the camp. Kimbrough said about 30 dancers out of all the teams were named All-American dancers. Kimbrough said dancers could choose whether they wanted to audition to be named All-American at the camp alongside the training and routines the teams were tasked to learn. Kimbrough was the only dancer from MC Pom to audition, she added that she wanted to audition whether she'd be named All-American or not, to be a role model for her team.
"I was trying to just try it and show the rest of my team that you can still try even if you're scared," Kimbrough said. "So, really, my intentions weren't to make it, just to try and help show my team that you can still try. Nothing is impossible."
Kimbrough said when she was named All-American she felt surprised, but excited about her accomplishment. Kimbrough added that she wasn't expecting to be named All-American, but that she was focused on pushing herself to try out.
LeGrand, 26, is the head coach of the MC Pom team. LeGrand said dancers auditioning for the All-American spots were judged on whether they were spirited, if they knew their choreography well, their skill level, their ability to choreograph part of their own routine, and their technique. LeGrand said students named All-American are invited to dance in the UDA Spirit Parade, which is available through different locations, with one parade being national and the rest international. LeGrand said Kimbrough was a model to the rest of the team by pushing herself to try out.
"A lot of the girls do view her in a leadership role, she's a very good role model for everybody else," LeGrand said. "She works really hard."
LeGrand added that she hopes Kimbrough's actions will lead to more MC Pom dancers to try out for All-American when the team attends the camp next year.
"She definitely showed the rest of them that you don't have to be perfect to do that stuff, or to put yourself out there," LeGrand said. "So, I do think that she showed the rest of them, like, 'Hey, next year, we should have all of the six of the people that are eligible do it. Because it's totally possible,' and anything can happen when you put yourself out there."
Following the camp, Kimbrough said she felt closer to her team and her coach and felt that they deserved part of the credit.
"A really huge thank you to my team and my coach especially," Kimbrough said. "For pushing me to be the very best that I can be."
LeGrand said the MC Pom team is likely to hold a fundraiser to send Kimbrough to the UDA Spirit Parade and hopes that the community will get involved to help support Kimbrough and the MC Pom Dance Team.
Kylie Kimbrough, a dancer on the MC Pom Dance Team, is the first MC Pom member to be named All-American at the UDA Dance Camp in Branson.