The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday November 28th

Inside the College’s dance team

<p><em>The dance team has been able to practice together once again during the fall semester (Photo courtesy of Julia Wyman)</em></p>

The dance team has been able to practice together once again during the fall semester (Photo courtesy of Julia Wyman)

By Jordyn Sava

Sports Editor

The dance team has been able to practice together once again during the fall semester (Photo courtesy of Julia Wyman)

After over a year of being unable to perform together, the dance team is back in action at the College. The team performs at all home football and basketball games, as well as competes nationally each year at the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.

Senior public and mass communications major, Gaby Meyer, has been dancing since she was two years old. She is now the president and captain of the dance team at the College.

“For a while, I didn’t think I wanted to dance in college, but in my senior year of high school I realized just how much I would miss dance once I graduated,” said Meyer. “I decided to audition for the dance team once I committed here.”

To become a member of the dance team, students have to audition. All current students, transfer students and incoming freshmen are invited. At the audition, dancers will learn a short routine and work on technical skills.

Once on the team, the girls practice for two to three hours, three days a week. This continues through the fall semester up until winter break — where the team stays on campus to practice their routine which they will compete at Nationals in January.

Prior to practice, the girls must look on the team calendar to see what clothes they have to show up in. Then, they head to Packer Hall for practice to get started.

Once all the girls arrive, Meyer leads the team in a warm-up to get the energy flowing and their bodies ready to move. 

“If we have an upcoming football or basketball game or community event, we will learn or review the routine we are performing there,” said Meyer. “We will then move on to choreographing and cleaning one of our three routines we will be performing at nationals.”

Then, they may find themselves practicing skills such as turns or aerials, which this year, they are trying to improve as a team. 

At the end of every practice, the team circles up to go over all important information and upcoming dates, followed by the team's cheer. 

Due to the pandemic, the dance team and their practices have been altered. Last year, the team only had three socially distant practices which took place in very small groups to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Rebecca Urm, a sophomore public health major, is enjoying her second year on the dance team, especially with fewer restrictions in place. She said that the team is on track to compete in Florida for nationals which “was only a dream last year”.

“In terms of regulations, we have to wear masks during [indoor] practice, and should be relatively cautious in terms of what we decide to do risk-wise, especially before traveling to Florida,” Urm said. 

For events such as football, where the team is outside, it is easy to follow Covid-19 guidelines. The girls practice social distancing from the players by dancing on the far end of the field, and by keeping space between them when on the sidelines. 

With basketball season coming up, some rules may be altered. Meyer said that the dance team has 24 girls, which is the biggest team yet. Because of this, they may find themselves splitting the team in half for indoor games in order to abide by social distancing rules. 

“While these restrictions can be irritating, they are so worth it to be able to perform together again,” Meyer said.

Covid-19 regulations are not the only things that can get a little tricky as a dance team member. Managing time and delegating tasks throughout the day seems to be a constant theme with the girls on the team. 

“It definitely gets hard to balance school and dance,” said Urm. “With a demanding course schedule along with work and other activities, sometimes it can be overwhelming.”

Meyer has also found this year especially hard. On top of her duties on the team, Meyer is taking five classes and works two jobs.

“I am not one to shy away from a challenge,” she said. “Time management and my planner have been my best friend this year. And while it can be overwhelming at times, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.”

For students looking to audition for the dance team in the future, the team strongly recommends they try out.

“If you love dance and are willing to devote time to it, it's a great experience. It's both challenging yet rewarding,” Urm said.  

The dance team will be performing at a few upcoming events — including the senior night football game on Nov. 12, and at the start of the basketball season on Nov. 13. 


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