Podcast: Interview with Dance Team head coach Audrey De Guzman


Walnut High School Dance Team head coach Audrey De Guzman shares her experience with managing the team.

Richard Zhang: So how long have you been involved with the Dance Team?

Audrey De Guzman: So I started off on Dance Team on my sophomore year in high school through my
senior year. Two years after I graduated, I started assisting. I assisted for two years, and this year is my first year as head coach.

Zhang: As head coach, do you face any challenges concerning how you’re always busy?

Guzman: The only big challenge that I face right now is scheduling. Because I’m a college student, I’m going back and forth from Walnut to Cal State Fullerton, and then working at [Dellos Dance Studio]. So a lot of it is just time management. I need to be able to commit a big chunk of time to be here so that the girls do very well.

Zhang: So how do you really overcome these challenges?

Guzman: A big reason I do overcome these challenges is that when you actually look at the bigger picture, sacrifice doesn’t seem that big of a deal when you’re doing something that is making you happy at the end of the day. Even though the sacrifices may be driving a lot, not having weekends because they’re at competition, holding all those extra rehearsals or missing dinners, it’s all worth it at the end. When they’re doing well, they’re happy, and it makes you happy seeing them do so well. So it’s realizing what you’re doing and how it’s benefiting you also.

Zhang: You say that you sacrifice a lot yourself, but what do you expect from the team?

Guzman: What I expect from them is just that they put in the same amount of commitment that I do. For the most part, I’m here just as much as they are, but I’m there earlier than they are. Once the practice ends, they get to go home, but I go home and work on other things like costuming, entering them into competition and organizing. So what I expect from them is to be responsible and put in just as much effort as I do because at the end of the day, it’s a team effort. If they’re not putting in that commitment, no matter how well I’m coaching them, it’s just not going to matter. I expect them to be just as committed and want it just as bad as I do.

Zhang: Regarding your duty as a coach, with Walnut becoming a school of arts and putting focus on arts, how do you think that’s going to affect your duty as coach?

Guzman: I don’t think it’ll affect it too much, other than the fact that I’ll be getting a lot of talent the next couple of years, especially with the school of the arts and people wanting to get college credit for dance. We’re going to get a lot of dancers that are going to be serious and want to pursue dance in college or professionally. The talent level is going to be crazy good these next couple of years, but duties as a coach would mean pushing them to be better than they already are coming in. Other than that I don’t think it’ll change too much other than me getting some really good talent next year.

Zhang: Do you plan to do this in the future?

Guzman: As long as I can, I want to. It’s definitely something that I see myself doing as long as my schedule permits it to. Until I get too old, start to think about having a family or begin a career for my major, I would love to [continue] do [doing] this.

Zhang: Could you elaborate on the major you’re attending?

Guzman: I’m a psychology major at Cal State Fullerton, and I’m graduating this semester, so in the next couple of years I’m going to start thinking about graduate school. I want to work in the school system to be a school psychologist. I’m hoping that whatever career or job I end up at, if it is a school, the schedules would be similar because schools usually happen at the same times. I’m hoping that if I do get a job at a school system, the scheduling won’t be too bad. Until life takes me away, out of town or somewhere else, I want to stay.

Zhang: So, this is something you would consider as a side career?

Guzman: Definitely, I love this job, and I love coaching these girls. As long as I can be here, I want to be here.

Zhang: Last and final question, what do you think you, yourself, have benefitted from being the coach of such a great team?

Guzman: It’s been a lot of personal growing, and a lot of people doubted if I could take on such a big role especially with how young I am and the reputation that Walnut has. I had doubts myself, so just proving to myself that I was capable of doing it, and the girls doing great, I’ve done a lot of personal growing and maturing faster than my other peers would have to. Because you are being a role model to 26 high schoolers, you want to show them that if this is what you want to do, and you put in the dedication, the end result will be amazing.

By Richard Zhang, Staff writer
Photo By Sajid Iqbal