College Dance Team Central

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Red Hotz Light Up Dance Competition

April 27, 2006
The Red And Black

Dancers of the UGA Red Hotz haven’t had a problem living up to their name.

The Red Hotz set the competition on fire at the National Dance Association College Nationals earlier this month in Daytona Beach, Fla., winning second place in the Open Division and defeating defending national champion Western Kentucky.

The team also brought home the NDA Innovative Choreography Award for their “State of Shock” routine, which was composed mostly of Michael Jackson songs.

The dance team was started five years ago and is entirely organized internally. Its 13 members coordinate fund-raisers, annual performances, special events, auditions and all choreography except for their routine at Nationals each year, said team captain, Vicki Hendley, a graduate student from Fayetteville.

“It’s interesting because we don’t have a coach,” she said. “We all take turns standing out. We all realize that we’re all in this together.”

Hendley said a unique aspect of the Red Hotz is their intense philanthropic involvement.

In addition to performing at volleyball and basketball games, the Red Hotz look forward to dancing at Dance Marathon, H.E.R.O. for Children and Relay For Life events each season, she said.

“In order to prepare for Nationals, we attended numerous regional studio competitions where we brought home both gold and platinum awards for our overall high scores,” said co-captain Ashley Britt, a junior from Fayetteville.

To alleviate the costs of attending Nationals, each year the Red Hotz host the UGA Red Hotz Dance Team Invitational, the largest independent dance competition in the state, to raise funds for the season.

A major draw to the team for its members is the opportunity to continue dancing competitively in college, Hendley said.

Co-Captain Valerie Barth, a junior from Swansea, Ill., attributed the team’s success at Nationals to the chemistry among the dancers.

“I feel that our team can only get better from here on and it gets me pumped for next season,” she said.

Friday, April 28, 2006

North Dakota Cheer and Dance Team Holding Tryouts

UND Official Release

GRAND FORKS, N.D.--The Fighting Sioux cheer and dance team will be holding tryouts today and tomorrow at the Hyslop Sports Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Friday's gym session will take place at the Hyslop from 4 to 9 p.m. in Hyslop Gym 1 (main gym). On-ice tryouts for the hockey cheer team will be from 9 to 10 p.m. on the Olympic ice sheet at Engelstad Arena.

The gym tryouts will continue on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., and the on-ice tryouts will continue Saturday night from 7 to 8 p.m.

All interested students should report to Hyslop Gym 1 at 4 p.m. on Friday for preliminary paperwork. Tryout forms may be downloaded by clicking on the link provided at the top of this release.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Black and Gold Elites Live For Competition, Commitment

Tuesday, 25 April 2006
Lifestyles Reporter

Most Appalachian State University Students are fast asleep Monday’s at 6 a.m. For the 11 ladies of The Black and Gold Elite Dancers, early morning practice is just beginning.

The dancers practice three to four days a week in addition to conditioning Sunday nights.

“It’s different,” team captain April M. Williams said. “It’s very athletic. It’s very competitive. Some of these girls are in better shape than a lot of athletes on campus.”

The Black and Gold Elite Dancers dance team was formed in 2000 when girls from the ASU Dance Team wanted to compete, not just perform, Williams said.

Although The Black and Gold Elite Dancers perform at football games, women’s basketball games and a few men’s basketball games, their main purpose is to compete.

“It’s in our bylaws that [competition] is what we were created for,” Williams said. “It’s a huge commitment.”

The team is entirely self-coached and receives no university funding.

Most of the women on the team this year are freshmen and sophomores, Williams said.

The dance team decided to hire a choreographer this year because so many members were new, but next year they will choreograph all their routines, Williams said.

Routines are typically a minute to a minute and a half for performances at games and about two minutes for competitions, Williams said.

Most of the routines are largely jazz and hip-hop based, Williams said.

At nationals, the teams have set time requirements for how many seconds of jazz, hip hop and pop they must feature.

Choreography and practice begins four to five months before a competition.

“It’s really rewarding to see how you do against bigger teams that have a lot of funding and great coaches when you don’t have either,” Williams said.

Although they have competed in some regional championships, the team mostly competes on national levels because they have collegiate divisions, Williams said.

“It’s nice to be recognized in a large venue because no matter how well you do you are still getting your name out there,” she said.

The team competed in the Chick-fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championships for the second time in April.
They raised about $8,000 with various fundraisers in order to compete in the championships, Williams said.

Out of 20 groups in the division, the team came in 18th place overall and finished 9th place in the College Cup, a competition within the larger championship.

“We scored really well on technical, presence, energy; all the big ones,” Williams said.

The championship, held annually in Daytona Beach, Fla., is the largest national competition in the United States, even playing host to some international competitors.

“We’re really proud. It’s more about beating our individual standards,” she said. “We know we’re not going to win first place.”

Their trophy is currently being displayed in Plemmons Student Union.

Recruitment for new members takes place over the summer before attending camp in August.

The camp takes place in Myrtle Beach the week before school starts and is where teams compete for invitations to nationals.
“It’s a lot of stress all at once,” Williams said.

Next year, freshman Molly E. Morgan will take over William’s role as captain.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cougarettes Win Championship

By Jessie Elder
Deseret Morning News

PROVO — The Brigham Young University's Cougarettes outshone other college dance teams to win — for the sixth time — the Chick-Fil-A National Cheer and Dance Team Championships.

"We were happy because we felt like we had really prepared well and had done our best — and that's all we could ask for. And winning on top of that was great," said Kim Crane, a member of the university's precision dance team.

The team traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the national competition April 6-7.

It's the second consecutive first-place finish for the Cougarettes.

BYU has high-kicked back into the top spot since a disappointing fifth-place finish in 2004 — the team's worst finish since winning its first national championships in 1997. The precision dance team also won in '98, '99 and 2001.

Jodi Maxfield, artistic director of the Cougarettes, said she thinks the team's 18 dancers have done well because of their hard work and dedication.

Maxfield also attributes their win to the fact that they are fun to watch.

The Cougarettes practice three hours a day on weekdays. To make sure the team stayed to top of its routines for nationals it added four-hour practices on Saturday.

Aside from bragging rights, the Cougarettes took home a trophy and a banner, national championship letter jackets and a $500 gift certificate.

The Cougarettes have not only made their school proud, Maxfield said, but they have also made a name for themselves. Maxfield said all other teams at nationals know BYU's team is strong.

"It makes us feel really good to know that we are representing the university and also representing (the LDS Church) by nature of who we are and how we conduct ourselves," Maxfield said.

Crane said when the team travels to Florida for the competition, there are many schools there but all of them respect BYU. It's nice to know other teams are happy when the Cougarettes win, Crane said.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MSU Dance Team Allows Incoming Freshmen To Audition For 1st Time

New steps

The State News

Beneath the large garage doors backstage in the Breslin Center, Nicole Mancuso restarted Aerosmith's song "Dream On" on her iPod and began practicing a dance routine again.

With intense concentration, the communication freshman punched her arms outward before throwing her body into a graceful spin on tiptoe to the music as she and 26 other women warmed up for the MSU Dance Team tryouts last week.

Moments later, each would perform before a panel of judges at center court.

Each would have a chance to dance alongside others, and, finally, by themselves.

"I've done everything I can, so hopefully I have a good one," Mancuso said before the tryouts began.

It was the second round of tryouts hosted by the student-managed MSU Dance Team, an about 15-member team that has performed routines to music at all football and men's basketball games and some special events for four seasons, team captains Jennifer Chiroyan and Justine Richards said.

The team has no coach, no official choreographer, no home-practice area and no official sponsor to send them away to competition, although it does receive money for uniforms and training camps from the athletic department, Richards said.

Captains and current team members managed the tryouts and gave team-hopefuls a day to learn two routines and a day to practice before putting each dancer to the test.

This year was the first time incoming freshmen were able to audition for the team.

"It's very stressful," Chiroyan said. "Freshmen are coming from the studio when their training is the hardest, there are a lot of girls you're not familiar with and there are time constraints to learn such a difficult routine."

Last Tuesday, team-hopefuls scrutinized and mimicked each twist and movement of team members who taught "8-count" pieces of the dance. By Wednesday, the dancers had committed the routine to memory and practiced it in its entirety while seasoned members watched, critiqued and restarted the music to begin again.

Thursday was crunch time.

It was tiring, but nothing the dancers said they hadn't experienced before.

Most had at least 10 years of training in jazz, lyrical or ballet dancing. Elementary education sophomore Jill Tremonti, 20, said she had spent 18 years in the studio and the tryouts were the familiar grind.

"You're on your feet, you're learning new material and learning to adapt to someone's style is always difficult," Tremonti said. "You do it over and over again, and getting technique right can be tiring."

For members, the dance team comes second only to education, Richards said.

"If you have work, get it off. If you have plans, break them," Richards said. "It's the dance team first. Class is the only exception."

But even with dedication and talent, the team has never won nationals and will have a difficult time ever getting to that level without having scholarships and direction from a professional coach and choreographer, she said.

Completing her tryout Thursday, hospitality business sophomore Jessica Cummins was performing familiar dances.

Cummins was on the team last year, but was auditioning again because each member must earn a spot back for the second time before solidifying a spot on the team.

"I'd really like to get a coach," Cummins said. "When it comes to nationals, it would help us to have a coach like other teams."

Stepping up to perform her solo tryout, Cummins held a smile and performed a series of leaps and spins with seeming ease before leaving the gym.

"It's pretty intense, more so than last year because with incoming freshman being allowed, so there are more girls straight out of the studio," Cummins said. "I did the best I could do and I had no regrets."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Eight Straight Is Great For Towson

Dance Team Dominates Competition
Towson leaves Daytona Beach, Florida with eighth straight national championship trophy

by Brian Stelter
April 10, 2006
The Towerlight Online

After eight years and eight national championship titles, the Towson University Dance Team is used to winning. But that doesn’t mean the competitions are easy.

“There are a lot of teams that just want to surpass Towson, so it gets harder every year,” junior exercise science major Christy Tarrant said. “Every year you have to prove that you deserve the national title again.”

Coach Tom Cascella puts it this way: “You’ve got to convince the people that want you to lose that you’re too good to lose.”

That’s exactly what the team did over the weekend.

On Sunday the team arrived back in Towson with two national championship trophies from the Chick-fil-A Cheer & Dance Collegiate Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Judges decided the team’s two-minute 15-second performance was the best of the 22 Division I teams in attendance.

Teams competed in several divisions, and Towson’s score of 9.54 was the highest of any team in any division, making them the grand champion and giving them a grand trophy, as well.

“We’ll have to find a way to fit that trophy on the plane,” Cascella, also interim chair in the dance department, joked on Saturday.

The team arrived in Florida on Monday and endured intense two-a-day practices on Tuesday and Wednesday. Preliminaries took place on Thursday and finals were held on Friday.

The team members woke up at 5 a.m. Friday and met in a room to have their hair and makeup done. Following makeup, they went over the routine many times before stepping out on stage of the Band Shell amphitheater along the beach. Hundreds of audience members were lying in the sand awaiting the routines.

“When you walk out on the stage, there’s a sea of people,” Tarrant said. “There’s people standing on rooftops and standing on balconies at the hotels.”

The floor of the blue stage was sticky and hot. And all eyes were on the 16 members of Towson’s team.

“When you’re on stage, it goes by so fast,” Tarrant said. “You blink your eye, and you’re halfway done with the routine. Your muscles just take over because you’re so trained to do what you do.” Co-captain Mikki Bresnahan, a senior marketing major, said the team has to set the bar higher for themselves every year.

“Every year it’s different,” Bresnahan said. “Every year you go out with a new routine. You don’t know what to expect from other teams. So every year you’re nervous.”

The win is even more impressive since the team threw out its routine in the second week of February.

Cascella said they had developed a routine based on a musical called Dreamgirls, but “realized it wasn’t going anywhere.”

“Most teams down here have been learning their routines since like October,” Laura Blank noted. Blank graduated from Towson last year and traveled to Florida to help the team prepare for finals. She said Towson’s team was tweaking the choreography right up until Wednesday night.

“We’re a team that works very, very well under pressure,” Blank said. “We don’t want our team to have their best performance until finals.”

Many dance teams rely on outsiders to choreograph their routines, but Towson’s team handles it internally.

“The captains and coaches get together and we think of different moves,” Bresnahan said. “Then we bring the moves to the team and the team puts their ideas in.”

And then they practice, and practice, and practice. The team practices for three hours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, along with many-hour long practices on the weekends. And it all pays off at finals.

When the musical cue starts, the dance team has 2 minutes and 15 seconds to impress the judges. Every second counts.

The judges require 30 seconds of cheerleader/pom technique; 30 seconds of hip hop technique; and 30 seconds of jazz technique. The other 45 seconds are up to the team. The requirements force teams to show off a variety of skills, Cascella said.

TU usually begins with a 10-second introduction of technical skills, followed by 38 seconds of cheerleader/pom motions, 38 seconds of hip-hop, and 45 seconds of jazz.

“It’s pretty much like sprinting for 2 minutes and 15 seconds,” Blank said.

The judges score teams in categories like technique, showmanship and spacing – “basically all the things that you would have in your routine,” freshman mass communication major Dana Richmond said.

Perfecting the routine is called “cleaning.”

“We spend a lot of time cleaning each section,” Blank said. “It takes about a month to clean each section.”

Cleaning means having every dancer’s hand in the exact same motion at the exact same count of the beat. Rehearsals are videotaped so the team can watch the performance in slow motion. “Sometimes we look at the video and think we need an arm there, we need an arm here,” Bresnahan said.

Cascella breaks out a laser pointer during the videotape critique sessions.

“We freeze frame it and say, ‘What’s this, see how this arm is like this? See how the timing of that kick is off?’ We use that to help clean the routine,” he said.

The judges notice, and prospective dancers do, too. Richmond came to Towson specifically because of the dance team., and she’s not alone. With seniors like Bresnahan graduating, a new crop of freshmen dancers are about to join the team.

Cascella said a Florida high school student who saw the team’s performance on Friday had “already e-mailed me asking if she could come to Towson.”

In a few years, she could help bring home a national championship trophy, too.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Towson Tops Again

More than three cheers at this competition

Staff Writer
Daytona Beach News-Journal

DAYTONA BEACH -- Most of the crowd was rooting against them.

Hoping one of the women falls. Twists an ankle. Drops her smile.

But Towson University's Dance Team has no plans of folding under the pressure. After all, the Maryland team has won the National Dance Alliance championship seven years in a row.

"A lot of people are waiting for us to slip up," says an anxious Kate Bumgarner, 21, before the team's performance at the Bandshell on Friday. "But we come up with something new every year."

With choreography invented by the women themselves -- and the support of a coach who treats them like the daughter he lost years ago -- the squad manages to win the Chick-fil-A Cheer & Dance Collegiate Championship in Daytona Beach every year.

But it's never a given.

They're up against 12 college dance teams from across the country in their division, and the top five are usually so good they score within fractions of a point of each other.

So it's anybody's game.

Going for their eighth title Friday, the 16 women in identical red- and black-velvet outfits stretched and silently practiced their routine while waiting to climb onto the Bandshell stage, where a crowd of thousands and national cameras awaited them.

They held hands in a circle to give final pep talks.

With a minute to go, Coach Tom Cascella took a moment to remind the women what they're competing for -- not the medals and trophies but validation of their hard work and dedication.

"Attack every moment," says the coach who took over the dance team 13 years ago to get over the grief of losing his 3-year-old daughter to an undetermined illness. "We want this more than anyone."

Cascella's team has come a long way. Half the team quit when he took over because he didn't have dance experience. The other half quit when he changed their name from the "Tigerettes" to the Towson University Dance Team.

At his first audition, one woman showed up. He made her captain and started recruiting. Five years later, after attending workshops, watching competitions and quizzing other coaches, the drama teacher's team won its first national championship.

Repeating wouldn't be easy. The two teams before Towson scored so well they moved into first and second place. Towson needed a near-perfect score to beat 9.38.

The women took the stage. A Broadway medley started. The women kicked, twirled, snapped their arms in the air. Two minutes later it was over and the crowd went wild. They left the stage to wait for the results.

They looked up at the screen and 9.54 popped up. They won -- again.

"We gave every ounce of our energy and are so, so proud," Taylor Walker, a senior captain, told a television reporter while her teammates squealed and cried behind her. "Winning every year, we have to work 10 times harder to keep moving up and up. But we come back with hard work and dedication."

That's what Cascella likes to hear.

"You guys are a force to be reckoned with," the reporter said.

He likes to hear that too.

To Learn More

To see the Towson University dancers win their eighth National Dance Alliance competition, tune in to CBS on May 2.

Other divisions of collegiate dancers and cheerleaders competing in the annual Chick-fil-A Collegiate Cheer & Dance Championship at the Ocean Center and Bandshell will air April 22 on CBS.

The competition draws 4,000 dancers and cheerleaders on 200 teams from across the country.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Southern Misses Tryouts Underway

By LaShana Sorrell
April 06, 2006
The Student Printz

The Southern Miss athletics department will host tryouts for the 2006-2007 Southern Misses Dance Team Friday and Saturday.

Tryouts will be held in the Payne Center on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Southern Misses head coach Bridgett A. Hunt said registration is from 4 - 5 p.m. on Friday, and material will be taught from 5-8 p.m. Saturday; final tryouts will begin at 2 p.m.

Hunt said there are 16-18 positions available for the dance team.

Hunt suggested some technical skills to prepare for this year's tryout are: pirouette trims (double/triple), axles, fouette turns, jetes, switch leaps, straddle, etc.

“It will be required that many of the mentioned skills, in addition to others, be demonstrated left and right,” Hunt said. “Other skills to be judged will be physical fitness and crowd appeal and enthusiasm.”

Freshman psychology major and member of the dance team Courtney Crist is looking forward to trying for the team again this year.

“I am trying out again next year because I loved performing at the basketball games,” Crist said. “Sitting on the sidelines, right in the middle of the game was a lot of fun and I loved the rush when the ball came flying at your face.”

Senior speech communication major and former member of the dance team and cheerleading squad Natalie Goldman loves dancing, especially on the Southern Miss dance team.

“I have been dancing since the age of two and I love it,” Goldman said. “When I came to Southern Miss I had a hard time decided on dancing or cheerleading. Instead of choosing between the two, I tried out for the both and made them both. “

She said they practice two to three nights a week and maybe more depending on upcoming events.

“For the past two years I have been a member of the Southern Misses, and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” Goldman said. “ Our team dances at all pep-rallies, eagle walk and basketball games.”

She also added the Southern Misses help with a Girl Scout Clinic every year as a fundraiser. The girl scouts perform a dance from their clinic at one of the women's basketball game.

Goldman feels the Southern Misses have a close bond and friendship.

“Being on the Southern Miss dance team has been a very rewarding experience,” Goldman said. “Not only do we dance, but we also have a strong bond with each other. Our coach and the other girls on this team are great. Everyone gets along so well, and we each try to encourage one another in and out of the dance studio. These girls are not only my teammates, but my friends as well.”

Crist echoes Goldman's belief in the bond between the girls.

“It's a lot of hard work, but the friendships and performances make it all worth it in the end,” Crist said.

All members are committed to the team for a year. Each member is also required to maintain weekly workouts and GPA requirements. Southern Misses are treated as athletes and therefore receive the same benefits as other athletes on the campus, Hunt added.

“There is a lot of hard work associated with being a member of this team, but it is also a very rewarding experience,” Hunt said.

They attend a UDA college camp at the University of Alabama in July and placed second in their division for summer 2005, she said.

Hunt said those interested in being a Southern Miss need to have a positive attitude first and foremost.

“A good attitude, a great deal of dedication, and strong commitment to hard work are also traits that we look for in potential members,” Hunt said.

Goldman encourages all who are interested to tryout.

“Go for it,” Goldman said. “Just be yourself, be confident in what your doing, dance your heart out and most of all have fun. If you mess up keep going; it will be okay.”

To be eligible to participate one must be enrolled at or accepted to attend Southern Miss in the fall as a full-time student. Those interested should submit an application, current photo, proof of insurance, cop of student ID or proof of acceptance and a $25 non-refundable fee.

Also, tryouts for the cheerleading squad and Seymour, the mascot, will be held the weekend of April 21 - 23 at Planet Gymnastics in Hattiesburg.

For further information about tryout information call 266-5017.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

UCO Dance And Cheer Teams Demonstrate Routines

Dance team to compete at Chick-fil-A Collegiate Championship this week

by Harry Gatewood III
April 04, 2006
The Vista Online

Twisting and shouting with spirit, the UCO cheer and dance teams demonstrated their routines for nationals March 31 at Hamilton Field House, hosting Division I cheer team Oklahoma State University.

“This was a good showing for us,” UCO cheer coach David Owens said. “Hitting our routines here is only going to help us at nationals. We landed about 85 percent of what we did.”

UCO’s Division II cheer team performed a variety of acrobatic flips and towering formations that it hopes will help it earn a top place in the Chick-fil-A Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championship, which will be held April 6-7 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“Coming into today’s showing, coach drilled us with what he called the HYS plan—hit your stuff,” said sophomore Austin Robles.

Landing stunts and balancing formations are vital aspects at nationals, as the teams are graded on motion placement, timing perfection and overall performance.

“The key today was getting in front of the crowd and overcoming our fears,” said sophomore flyer Lyndsey Stout.

“In today’s showing I just wanted the team to perform and overcome anything they needed to,” said UCO’s first-year head dance coach Melissa Linduff. “This is our first time to perform our national routine in front of a crowd.”

The team has had several injuries this year, one of which took place at the showing. Christen Carlson, junior, pulled a muscle in warm-ups but was still able to participate in the routine.

“Everyone has had serious injuries this year, from fractured ankles to torn cartilage in the back—even a broken wrist and torn ACLs,” Robles said.

A study published in January in the journal “Pediatrics” showed that injuries in cheerleading have more than doubled from 1990 to 2002, while participation has grown by 18 percent in that same time frame. In that same 13-year period, the study estimated 208,800 people ages 5-18 were treated at U.S. hospitals for injuries related to cheerleading. Nearly 40 percent of the injuries were of the leg, ankle and foot.

“One of our stunts was actually illegal due to safety reasons,” said OSU head coach Leroy McCullough. “There was no literature on it, but we couldn’t do it, so we had to add a new routine and the team stepped up and didn’t miss a beat today.”

Last year, OSU landed in at third in the IA Cheer division, earning a final score of 8.96.

In 2005, UCO small coed cheer team drilled a third-place finish at nationals with a final score of 8.43, tying Elmira College of New York. The UCO dance team finished in 10th place at nationals with a subtotal of 8.59, but had a 0.15 deduction that dropped them to a final score of 8.44.

UCO will perform in the preliminary round April 6 in Datyona Beach, Fla., with the cheer team scheduled to present at 9:16 a.m., and the dance team is scheduled to present at 4:10 p.m.