College Dance Team Central

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The DePaul Dance Team

Dancing Fools
by Scott Phillips
Staff Writer
The Depaulia

Basketball games at DePaul are an event. There is the Screamin’ Demons Band, the cheerleading squad, the Blue Crew and alumni who all come to support the team. Further enhancing this excitement are the contributions of the DePaul Dance Team. This group of 12 ladies works hard to dance for each home game for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What is not known about the dance team is the amount of work and dedication they put toward perfecting their routines. Besides dancing, the team must know the school’s fight song, works out twice a week for one hour, and travel to various functions on sometimes short notice. Practice is also the most important time for the dancers to come together and learn a new routine.

The team practices three times a week for about six to eight hours.

“The days and times usually have to change for facility availability,” said senior dancer Sheena Laird.

This means the team must be flexible when they schedule for things to be able to accommodate practice. The team also conducts an extensive tryout that runs for two days. The first day is a clinic where new dancers learn the basics and then are able to execute them on the second day of the tryout.

The team also learns many new dances throughout the year.

“We learn close to 10 routines a year aside from game-day choreography like sideline routines performed to the music of the DePaul Pep Band,” said senior dancer Mary Krosnjar.

Since the team learns so many new dances, they need to use all of their practice time effectively to stay sharp. Laird said the team puts a lot of effort into dance steps. “We usually learn a routine in one hour. Then we spend an hour or two cleaning it,” Laird said. “Then we run the routine and fix details until we perform it. We learn routines anywhere from one month to two weeks before we perform it; it depends on the game schedule,” said Laird.

Besides basketball games, the dance team does many activities to gain exposure.

This past summer the team sold doughnuts to raise money and had a car wash as well. The dance team was also fortunate to be asked to perform on WGN’s morning show as DePaul opened the season. Xtreme Madness, DePaul’s annual festivities to the start of the basketball season, also features the campus debut of the dance team every October.

If the men and women’s team travels to conference tournaments of the NCAA tournament, the dance team will often follow in support. “We do other random stuff like FEST and anything that we get invited to,” said team member Debbie Allan.

While the dance team puts in a lot of work together to entertain DePaul fans, they are also a tight knit group that loves to have fun.

“We are a fun group. We can definitely be silly, but when we need to get down to business with our dancing we know how to do that too,” said sophomore Ann Opalka.

The extensive travel schedule that the team encounters usually helps them get closer.

“It’s really later in the season when we get to travel for conference and NCAA tournaments that we really get to hang out,” said Laird. “Those trips are really fun and bring the whole team together.”

The team works hard and has plenty of fun, but it seems to lack the attention of many on-campus activities. A possible reason is that the team does not compete.

“It is a large time and monetary commitment,” said senior Mary Krosnjar. “Competing is a dream and a goal for the DePaul Dance Team in the near future.”

Although these ladies are not competing right now, they are still a major campus contributor.

“DePaul dance team is a great way to be a part of a close team, have fun, and do what you love: dance,” said Opalka.

“A lot of times people say ‘There’s a dance team? I didn’t know that,’ which I always find to be funny. But I have a feeling that will change soon, if the girls start competing,” Laird said.


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