College Dance Team Central

Thursday, February 02, 2006

UK Dance Team Prepares For Big Test

Hebron native, squad compete for national crown
Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - Abbey Schwarb was, in a word, petrified.

A previous commitment had forced her to miss the University of Kentucky dance team group tryouts, and coach Cathy Coyle had granted her an individual audition late last March.

"There was definitely a lot of pressure on me - especially because I was by myself," said Schwarb, then a senior at Villa Madonna Academy. "It was just me in front of Cathy and one of the captains from last year. That was it."

That's all she needed. After learning and performing parts of Kentucky's hip-hop routine, fight song and several cheers, Schwarb became one of the five freshmen to make the 16-girl varsity squad.

Nearly 11 months later, Schwarb will find out what it's like to compete for a national championship. Today the team departs for Las Vegas, and Sunday it attempts to defend its 2005 Division I jazz championship and third-place hip-hop routine at the United Spirit Association Collegiate Nationals.

The squad is taking a brief respite from its normal routine, which includes cheering on the football sidelines each fall and performing at home men's basketball games each winter. In March the group will also dance at the men's basketball Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville.

For Schwarb, who hadn't had an opportunity to be on a dance team until college, it's one exciting turn after the next. Sixteen years of dance experience have made her transition to the team easy, she said, and her 3.8 grade-point average has banished her academic concerns.

Coyle described Schwarb as someone with "a positive attitude," and her specialty in jazz can only be "an asset for our jazz nationals routine."

The Hebron native is just glad to be part of it. "I knew I wanted to be on a college dance team," Schwarb said. "And UK has the best team in the nation right now."


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