Jacy Rae Barney has been announced as the new Crook County High School dance coach.
Barney has Crook County roots, although she grew up in California.
"I was raised in California, but I visited here a lot during the holidays," Barney said. "I would come and visit my family. My aunt and my mom are from here, and the Woodwards and Rhodens are my cousins,"
Barney has a serious dance background, performing for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Cowboys dance teams. She also coached the University of Texas at Dallas for two years and at Addison High School in Huntington Beach, California. In addition, Barney works as a choreographer, dance instructor and dance adjudicator.
"I teach dance to competitive dancers," she said. "I choreograph competition dances, solos, duos, groups, any genre and then I also am an adjudicator for multiple dance competitions, so on the weekends, I typically fly out and judge dance competitions. I've been a judge for over 10 years."
Barney said that she moved to Prineville in order to slow down and be closer to family.
As director of the Sparkles, Barney has a big task ahead. Normally the dance team has practiced during the summer. Instead, Barney is still holding tryouts for the program. Not only is she getting a late start, but last year competitions were done virtually instead of in person, so even the experienced dancers in the program have not competed in more than a year.
"With COVID, we are trying to take it day by day and see if we are having competitions or not and what they look like," Barney said. "Last year, I think they had to do it virtually where you just videoed it. It was very strange. I had to judge multiple video competitions, which was very awkward."
Her immediate goal is to have a team ready to perform at the next CCHS home football game, against North Marion on Friday, Oct. 1.
Longer term, she wants to expand the program and return to prominence at the state level.
"I want to grow the organization," she said. "Create excitement around the organization and be involved in the community. I think is very important. Especially here in Prineville, I think they are very small-town and community-oriented, so just being involved with the community, doing performances and just being really present. My philosophy is, you definitely need to have fun, but winning is really fun. So I would like to have a competitive edge. I don't know what it will look like as far as this season, but that is something that could definitely be in our future. I'm really excited."
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