From layouts to leaps

Former gymnast pursues competitive dance


provided by Mallory Kalka

Dancing is more than just a hobby for junior Mallory Kalka.

For some students, academics are the focus. But for junior Mallory Kalka, it’s a full plate between Red Rhythm, dance, and coaching.

“I’m in drill team as a first lieutenant and I’m also on a company team at my studio,” Kalka said. “I have a job at Kurt Thomas gymnastics where I teach preschoolers from the age of two and to the age of eight and I teach them gymnastics. I’m also on a company team where I get coached plus I’m on a drill team at school where I coach students my age as well. So I take all the stuff that I do there and really apply it to each other. It’s just a great experience because I can learn leadership and time management from all those.”

Provided by Mallory Kalka
Mallory Kalka takes dancing to the next level by participating in Red Rhythm and a company team outside of school.

Dancing was something new for Kalka as she didn’t start until the 8th grade.

“I did gymnastics from the age of three to 13,” Kalka said. “I was asked to be homeschooled to start training for elite team and my mom didn’t want me being home schooled so she thought maybe you should try dance, so I tried dance.”

As a junior, Kalka has grown into a leadership role.

“Mallory Kalka has been a dance student as Liberty high school with us for three years now,” Red Rhythm director Nicole Nothe said. “She served on the drill team her freshman and sophomore now and is now a officer for Red Rhythm. I think she’s doing a great job. She is definitely thriving in her position. She’s very well spoken and leads the girls in a positive position.”

As a first lieutenant, Kalka juggles the responsibility of perfecting and teaching dances to the team.

I think she’s doing a great job. She is definitely thriving in her position,”

— Nicole Nothe

“Mallory’s really fun and super encouraging to the team,” junior Haley Hammons said. “She’s super organized. She can make sure her priorities are straight and that everything’s in order for the days to come to make sure she’s getting all her dance work done and making sure the team is prepared for the next routine. As well as when she goes to teach the kids she’s working with them but she also works with older girls. It’s really cool to see her work with different ages but she still gets to do what she loves which is teach gymnastics and dance.”

Nothe has known the Kalka family for years, and has seen Mallory transform from a gymnast to a dancer.

“This is my third year but I also taught her older sister who was the captain for Red Rhythm so I’ve worked with the family for a total of 7 years,” Nothe said. “Since her freshman year she has definitely blossomed into a leader. She’s definitely took the initiative to step up and lead her fellow teammates and is working hard to build a relationship with the coaches. My goals for her is just to be a well rounded leader in academics and drill team.”

Provided by Mallory Kalka
Staring as a gymnast, Kalka eventually found dance and has loved it ever since.

With a passion for dance, she hopes to continue after high school with the Texas Tech Pom Squad.

“Dance is a way for me to take away all the stress and it’s kind of my home away from home,” Kalka said. “Anytime I’m in a bad mood I always go to my dance studio and I kind of just dance my feelings out and talk to my dance friends.”

Despite the busy schedule, Kalka doesn’t regret anything.

“I really like my job,” Kalka said. “I like teaching kids and I like teaching people. I love dancing on my company team. It’s just so enjoyable and it gives me lots of experience through dance so I can take it in the future and it really teaches me accountability and time management.”