Steven Tetkowski is always on his toes. He’s also always on the move.
And it started at a young age.
Tetkowski is a sophomore at Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, where he’s a dance major.
“Actually, when I was really little, like 3 or 4, I would dance in the middle of stores when songs would come on,” said Tetkowski, who lives in Mayfair. “People said to my parents, ‘You need to get him into dance.’ When I was 5, we were in the car and my dad asked me if I really wanted to dance, and I said yes. I’ve been dancing since I was 5.
“I do hip hop, I’ve been doing that for 11 years now. I’ve trained in other styles. Hip hop and contemporary are my main things. I also like New York jazz, that’s one of my favorites.”
Dancing has taken Tetkowski a lot of places.
Not only has he starred in some assemblies at school, he was featured in Kidz Bop, a children’s music group composed like a music brand that produces family-friendly cover versions of pop songs.
“When I got casted to be in Kidz Bop, I lived in (Los Angeles) for two years, I lived in LA and traveled to Mexico, Seattle, New York, we got to perform at St. Jude’s for sick kids.
“My mom traveled with me, but my two sisters and my dad stayed behind. I missed home, but it was awesome. I did school in the morning, was acting from 1 to 5, and my apartment was big, with a pool table, ping pong table. I’d have friends and we’d party until 9:50, I had to be home by 10, so I had a lot of time to have fun. Then we would either travel to perform or go home.”
Tetkowski was always busy, and he still is. Now, he’s just busy doing what he loves more than anything else, playing sports.
Tetkowski is a sophomore on the George Washington High School soccer and football teams. Since Rush doesn’t offer soccer or football, or indoor or outdoor track, he competes for the Eagles.
This marks the first year he’ll be playing football, but he started as a freshman in soccer last year. Last year he helped Washington reach the Public League quarterfinals, and he’s eager to see how far they can go this year.
“Dance is my main sport, but after that, it’s soccer,” said Tetkowski, who plays left back. “When I got to Rush, they had a JV team, but they don’t have it anymore, so I’m playing at Washington. I’m starting to make a lot of friends there because I’m playing sports for them. I’m meeting a lot of new people. I like that I have friends at Rush and Washington.”
He is making more friends with the football team now.
Tetkowski is handing the kicking and punting duties for the Eagles, who are 2-0 on the young season. He missed a game because Washington had a soccer game scheduled for the same time, but he’s finding his footing and having a great time.
“The football coach told me we needed a kicker because the kicker wasn’t back this year,” Tetkowski said. “It’s going pretty good. We tried a field goal in the first game and I missed it. But I had some good punts. It was a good win for us, we beat Frankford. They’re a good team.”
Tetkowski is there to compete and help the Eagles win.
And to do it, he’s going back to his roots.
As a dancer, Tetkowski has great footwork. He’s also extremely dedicated to his craft, and that attribute is very important when you’re playing sports.
As a guy who plays five sports, he truly believes dance has helped him become a better athlete and competitor.
“Dancing, I think, is a very underrated sport,” Tetkowski said. “A lot of pro football players take ballet and other styles. It helps you with dedication, learning choreography and technique. And it teaches you balance and how to hold your weight. I’m way more flexible than pretty much anyone on the football team because of dance. Kicks, jumps and land. It teaches you how to land, you roll through your feet instead of dropping on them, it’s very important.
“It’s good for all sports. It teaches you how to jump. I didn’t understand it until I did track and long jump. How you bend your legs and jump through your legs, jump higher. It teaches you how to be coordinated with your feet. Tap is just using the heel and the ball of your feet. You can coordinate your feet, it helps a lot.”
But being in dance, as well as playing football, soccer and both tracks at Washington, and this year he’s bowling as well, takes up a lot of time. He credits time management and a great family for helping him.
“Time management is huge,” Tetkowski said. “But I also have a lot of friends and family members who make sure to help me. My sister works from home. I have to get from Rush to Washington, and she’ll make sure I have a ride. And my parents are great. My dad, if there’s a game and he’s not working, he’s there with me. I’m really lucky to have that kind of family.
“It’s busy. I had an afternoon soccer game and right after, I had to run to get on the bus for football. It’s busy, but it’s a fun busy. It can get tiring, but in the end, it all pays off. And I’m not doing it alone.”