Padua's Villacis - WDEL Female HS Athlete of the Week
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VIDEO: Highlights from practice and Villacis interview
Padua Academy's dance team member Emily Villacis is this week's WDEL Female High School Athlete of the Week.

Emily traveled to New York on Sunday with her 26 teammates to open up for the Eastern Conference Champion New York Knicks.

"I may never get this chance ever again, and I will never get this chance again with this same group of girls," said the sophomore dancer.

Although Padua Dance Team performs at volleyball and basketball games, the girls practiced everyday last week to prepare themselves for Madison Square Garden.

"We went through like each part; slowing it down," said Emily. "We went by classes, by groups, by lines fixing every single detail.They were of course exhausting, and we'd just pass out at the end of each routine but it was good."

Emily, who has played softball and volleyball in the past will prove to anyone who has a doubt; dance is in fact a sport.

"I know dancers aren't given the credit these big basketball stars and soccer stars are, but we will get that kind of enjoyment at the end of the day," said a fiery Emily. "We sweat as much, we work as much, we have as much dedication."

Emily has been on the dance team now for two years and has seen improvement in her skills since freshman year.

"I saw a video of one of my first practices as a freshman, and me and my friend Julia were like 'Oh my God, was that us?' No wonder we got yelled at, no wonder we got called out," said Emily.

Head coach, Tori Closson-Simpson, has also seen a growth in a very quiet Vallacis. She's seen her come out of her shell this year.

"During the preparation for Knicks, she's been very focused. Her energy level is always at an all-time high. She's just a very professional athlete," said Closson-Simpson, who has been coaching PDT for four years.

Although Emily is only a sophomore, she knows exactly what she wants to study in college.

"My favorite subject in school is communications. I take Intro to Communications, and I want to go into communications and public relations as I grow older," said Emily, who isn't sure if she will continue dance at the collegiate level.





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