From Sioux City to the University of Iowa and back – one dancer’s story

Hayley Lange (pron. “long”) is a sophomore college student and dancer at Morningside College, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Like most people born and raised in Sioux City, Morningside was not an option for Hayley. Lange grew up dancing and eventually went to Sioux City East High where she was on the varsity dance team for all of her four years there. She was already very familiar with Morningside and wanted to get away to try something new in college.

Lange admits she looked at some colleges that she could dance at but ended up choosing the University of Iowa where she studied biology. She had a few other friends that were also at Iowa and took a dance class, but something was still missing. She explained, “I realized just how much dance helps me blow off steam. My four hours of dance class a week ended up being what I looked forward to.”

Dance was Hayley’s escape. In her down time she would go to the dance halls and find her motivation, comfort, and herself again. She also admitted that she originally chose to transfer to Morningside because of the “incredible” scholarships that were available to her.

After dancing for about 16 years, Hayley knew it couldn’t be over just like that. After her first semester at Iowa, Hayley decided to transfer and make the move back to Sioux City and to Morningside. Lange expressed further, “My semester there was a learning experience to say the least. However, I don’t know if I could tell you a thing I learned.” She continues, “I was very lost, unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and stuck in a strange new city that never came to feel like home. That was one of the main reasons I decided to transfer from the University of Iowa to Morningside.”

Once she was back in her hometown, though, she realized that it was the right decision. On the Morningside dance team alone there are eight Sioux City East alumni. It didn’t take Hayley long to feel more welcomed and comfortable at Morningside. “It reintroduced me to old friends and teammates, helped me meet new people, and gave me something to be a part of,” she explained. She was surrounded by her friends, family, and was finally able to continue her passion of dancing.

There are some difficulties and setbacks, though of being a student-athlete in college. As you get older, classes get harder and according to Lange, “dance seems to do the same”. Hayley says it really makes you look at your priorities and where they lie, but all the work is worth it. When reflecting back to her high school dance team, she says Morningside’s dance program really pushes you. “I can feel myself getting better and accomplishing things I never imagined I would,” she explained.

Hayley is a now sophomore and continues to dance for Morningside. She also continues to study biology with a minor in chemistry with the intent to go to medical school. She gives the credit for this decision to dance: “As unrelated as it sounds, I do partially attribute this decision to dance. It helped guide me back to what I want most.”

Hayley helped the dance team to two first place trophies and one third place at the Iowa State Dance Team Competition in Des Moines last week. She plans to continue dancing for Morningside in her years to come.