Welcoming Kelly Hesp to LBHS Dance with open arms


Adam Joshua Rodriguez Laguisma

Kelly Hesp celebrates with her students at the Fall 2022 Dance Concert. Hesp has been working and choreographing with her students to make this the best show she could put on.

Tatum Brennan, Health Editor

Recently, Laguna Beach Unified School District welcomed Kelly Hesp to Laguna Beach High School’s dance program. She is a substitute for Mrs. Estee Fratzke, who is currently on maternity leave. 

Hesp has been surrounded by dance and the arts all her life. Her family played a significant role in kick-starting her love for all types of dancing. Her older sister, Gina, was already involved with dancing and participated in classes and competitions. Hesp noted all her moves and expressions and incorporated that into her learning. She began dancing at age four and spent over ten years at Focus Dance Center in Irvine, California as a competitive dancer. Throughout her early years, she trained in various dance styles including jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, and hip-hop.

“Without my family, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take classes and improve my skill set,” said Hesp.

Her passion for dancing led her to audition at Orange County School of the Arts, where she was able to make a name for herself and establish her overall strengths. Hesp also danced with Orchesis Dance Company at Corona Del Mar, where she was captain of her team for two years. She choreographed and performed for their annual concerts, rallies, and at other venues. 

Dancing has become her happy place, regardless of the technique or style. She earned her B.A. in Dance & Communication from Chapman University. Hesp then received a Masters in Education and single subject teaching credential in physical education, where she can teach dance and yoga in high schools. 

“I hope to be a full-time dance teacher or director to inspire kids to one day pursue their dreams,” said Hesp.

During quarantine, the Los Angeles Lakers team was looking for new Laker Girls, a cheerleading squad that supports them at their games. One thousand dancers auditioned for the 22 available spots. After multiple weeks’ worth of going back and forth between in-person interviews and online calls for the final round of auditions, Hesp made it onto the team. 

“It was all about commitment,” said Hesp. “I learned to be a better team member, professional, punctual, and organized.”

Becoming a Laker Girl connected her to her favorite style of dance: jazz. It had always been a dream of hers to become a high school dance teacher because she took a lot of inspiration from her own. Laguna Beach is highly known for its performing arts programs and festivals, so finding open spots for high school dance teachers at this school was challenging. Hesp is very grateful for this opportunity to help kids at LBHS explore themselves through their emotions and artistic style. 

“Ms. Hesp carries on this positivity and high-level caliber that the LBHS Dance program is known for,” said LBHS counselor Angela Pilon. 

Hesp has the ability to effectively collaborate with students one-on-one and in groups professionally. She makes sure to give her students love and support while also providing constructive criticism to make her dancers the best version of themselves. 

“Being in Dance Company and being a Teacher Assistant is a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding, in that I get to be a student of Ms. Hesp and collaborate with her on a more professional level,” said Goldstein.

Once Fratzke returns to LBHS, she hopes there is an available spot for a dance director at any high school in Orange County.  Many of Hesp’s students agree that she teaches in a professional yet fun-loving manner. 

“When Ms. Hesp ends up leaving LBHS, I hope she is able to go on to do bigger and better projects and teach more students to dance,” says Dance I student Malia Dull.