College Dance Team Central

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.


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