High School Standouts: West Ridge’s Kiser succeeds outside her comfort zone

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – West Ridge senior Elizabeth Kiser fell immediately in love with dance as a young girl.

“Mostly the sparkly dresses and the tutus,” she laughed.

At three years old – who could blame her.

But, as she spent more time in the studio, Holloway Dance School, that love became something more profound.

“It’s really big for me,” she said. “It’s like my biggest outlet to allow me to express myself.”

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Growing up, she always preferred contemporary or ballet routines.

“I feel like I can express myself more,” she explained.

But, as a sophomore, she tried something new and joined the dance team in her first year at West Ridge.

“There’s definitely a learning curve – and dance team hip-hop is a lot different than, personally, my studio’s hip-hop,” she said.

With all of her experience, Kiser picked it up quickly. But, her knack for the change in styles surprised even herself.

“I just enjoy the sharper movements, which is strange because I enjoy the fluid movements at studio,” she smiled.

Even more so, Kiser has loved building a close relationship with each of her teammates.

“We’re a really, really close team and we have a ton of inside jokes,” she said. “Especially right now, we’re getting ready to go to nationals.”

For a third-straight year, the squad will head to Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete in the hip-hop category, as it looks to improve on its sixth-place finish last season.

The team will also present a jazz routine during the competition.

“It’s a lot of work, but it really is so much fun and seeing it all pay off – it’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Outside of dance, Kiser decided to try her hand at pageants, entering Miss Kingsport this past summer on a whim.

“I actually decided to do it about two weeks before the pageant,” she recalled.

Luckily, she had a talent ready on deck.

“I did a pointe dance I learned the week of the pageant,” she said. “And I had to borrow a costume from a friend, because I did not have one that was going to work.”

Despite her limited prep time – and much to her surprise – Kiser won her first-ever pageant and was declared Miss Kingsport.

“I was like ‘Oh no, I did not expect to win,'” she laughed. “I was in complete shock, but I was really grateful.”

She’ll compete in the Miss Tennessee pageant this summer before pursuing a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It will most-likely end her pageant career.

But, never say never.

“Who knows? But probably no more,” she grinned.

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