(Photo by Michael Fischer)
Dynamite comes in small packages.
Ashley Bredlow personifies the phrase.
Her stature may be small but her personality is explosive.
And whether she's riding her horse, playing volleyball, cheerleading or dancing -- all of which are passions for Bredlow -- her wide smile and bubbly personality are natural piece of the puzzle.
Saturday, during halftime of the Class 3A girl's state championship in Des Moines, Bredlow will take her love for dance to the big stage, when she joins the finest high school dancers in Iowa for a showcase performance.
"It's an honor," Bredlow said, of her selection to the All-Iowa Honor Drill Team.
To add to the pressure of dancing before such a large live audience, a documentary focusing on the 30th year of the state drill team, will be filmed during the preparation leading up to the show.
"I'm always nervous when I go out there," the Spencer dancer admitted. "But once you hear the music start playing. You kind of forget all the people are watching."
That's not to suggest Bredlow puts the audience completely out of her mind. She knows they are an important component of a successful performance.
(Photo by Michael Fischer)
"You have to smile and look like you're having fun," she added.
Is she having fun?
"Oh ya," she answered
Bredlow was selected from a field of more than 500 girls competing for the opportunity to provide entertainment during the state tournament.
The Spencer teen said the competition to earn the spot was tough.
"It was kind of overwhelming," Bredlow admitted. "There were so many girls this year, they split the competition into two different days. We had to learn three different dances and perform them that day."
She's been dancing for 12 years, since the age of 4, working with the YMCA program.
"I like the difficulty of trying to do new things and the feeling of accomplishment you feel after getting the move you've been trying to do," Bredlow said.
As a member of the state honor unit, Bredlow will be part of the pom group. She will begin practicing for the performance Thursday evening, and will continue perfecting the routine with practices all day Friday and Saturday, leading up to the big night.
The aggressive practice schedule is nothing new to Bredlow who finds herself working on her dance skills three hours a week before school, another 1 1/2 hours on Saturday, and more time in the dance studio Tuesday nights.
It's in the dance studio Bredlow is able to do what she truly loves, lyrical dance -- ballet.
"Lyrical is my favorite," Bredlow said. "You learn how to move your body with the music. That helps you learn how to move your body with all other dance types."
Bredlow noted she's looking forward to performing a lyrical dance with the Strutters during the group's upcoming dance performance.
She's also looking forward to trying to earn a spot on the state drill squad in her junior and senior years.
Attempts to reach Megan Whitaker, Bredlow's coach, were unsuccessful Monday.