College Dance Team Central

Friday, August 25, 2006

Introducing The LSU Golden Girls!

Taking the field with the Tiger Band at LSU for the first time in 1959, the LSU Golden Girls represent the oldest and most established danceline on the LSU campus. The line consists of a very talented group of dancers who are chosen each spring by a special audition. Membership is open to all students who are on campus or are entering freshmen or transfer students. Students in college (including transfer students) must have a 2.0 grade-point average in order to audition for the line. Previous dance training is highly recommended. Most of the girls on the line were members of their hometown dance studios, high school dancelines, and/or cheerleading squads.

All students chosen for the LSU Golden Girls receive a music activity award of $640 for the fall semester. The Golden Girls are one of the feature units with the LSU Tiger Band and perform for all home LSU football games and selected campus events, as well as, away games with the full Tiger Band.

For the official Golden Girls site Click Here

For the Golden Girls fan site with pictures and info Click Here

Monday, August 21, 2006

Southeast Missouri Sundancers Win Top Honor at Kansas State

Sunday, August 20, 2006
By: Marty Mishow
Southeast Missourian

The 35th year of the Southeast Missouri State Sundancers appears to be shaping up as one of the team's best.

Earlier this month, the Sundancers won their division of the college dance team competition at the National Dance Alliance collegiate dance team camp at Kansas State University, earning a bid to compete in next spring's NDA Collegiate Dance Team national competition.

But, while the Sundancers have qualified for nationals several times in the past, what makes their recent accomplishment unique is that for the first time they were awarded the Best Overall Team Trophy during the competition at Kansas State. The award includes a paid bid to the national event, set for April 4 through 8 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The finals will be televised by CBS.

"We've won first in our division before, but we've never won the overall title," Sundancers coach Danielle Alspaugh said. "There were 15 teams and some very large schools, like Kansas State, Iowa State, Wichita State, Wyoming and others.

"As a coach, I could tell we were one of the best teams there, but you never know how it's going to turn out. To beat all the bigger schools was very impressive, a major accomplishment. I was so proud of them. We definitely all cried when it was announced we won."

In addition to the Sundancers' team honors at Kansas State, Brook Rieger was named an NDA All-American. Only seven dancers at the camp received the award.

"That's a huge deal," said Alspaugh, a member of the Sundancers from 1998 through 2001 who earned NDA All-American honors as a senior. "Not a lot of Sundancers have been named All-American in the past 35 years."

The 13 current Sundancers are primarily from the St. Louis area, although Tatianna Cwick attended Cape Girardeau Central High School.

Rieger is from De Soto, Mo. Other squad members from Missouri are Whitney Andrews (O'Fallon), Cara Bigler (Independence), Missy Eggleston (St. Peters), Nikki Eggleston (St. Peters), Stephanie Hoemann (Fenton), Dana Joseph (Bonne Terre), Cassie Mora (Barnhart), Tiffany Williams (Chesterfield) and Katie Middeke (Wentzville).

Rounding out the team are Illinois natives Megan LaTempt (Godfrey) and Leah Wellen (Highland).

"We have some of the best dancers in the nation on our team," Alspaugh said. "And it's not like they just started doing this. All the girls have danced since they were three years old, so they've got a lot of skills."

While it's common knowledge how much time Southeast's intercollegiate athletes spend on their sport, Alspaugh said the same holds true for the Sundancers, who along with the cheerleaders perform at all Southeast home football, men's basketball and women's basketball contests.

"We started practice in June. We practice at least four times a week and they have to condition three times a week on their own," she said. "We do three seasons, so they really have to work at it. And some of them get a little bit of scholarship help, but not much, so they really have to love it.

"I'm proud of all the hard work they have invested this summer representing Southeast at camp and practicing for games and events. The team is eager to start performing and cheering for Southeast athletic teams. We have started this year off with a bang."

The Sundancers' highest finish at nationals has been seventh place, which was accomplished in both 1998 and 1999. Alspaugh was a part of those squads, and she served as captain her senior year.

"As a former Sundancer, I was definitely very, very proud of what the girls accomplished," said Alspaugh, who works in the admissions office at Southeast. "I'm sure all of the Sundancer alumni are proud of this group's accomplishment."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Freshman Becomes First Male On KU’s Rock Chalk Dance Team

By Sophia Maines
Friday, August 11, 2006
Lawrence Journal-World

Tim Flattery didn’t know he was making Kansas University history when he tried out for the traditionally all-female Rock Chalk Dance Team.

He simply wanted to dance.

“I just came to try out,” said Flattery, the first male member of the team, according to those close to the program. “It’s really cool to be (the first) — to open the doors for everybody else.”

Flattery, a freshman, is among 22 dancers on the team that performs at KU sporting events and special festivities. Though his entrance marks a break from tradition, his teammates have embraced him.

“It’s something that we’re going to see more and more,” coach Tasha Ruble said. “I think it was just a matter of time.”

Small town

On Thursday the dancers were in the studio, sweating their way through a heart-pumping practice.

In straight lines, they danced to KU fight songs, swinging their hips and kicking their legs into the air. Flattery danced at the end of one line, holding his head high.

Being the first male on an all-female squad is nothing new for Flattery. He grew up in Onaga, a Pottawatomie County town of about 700.

He started dancing a decade ago after a friend coaxed him into participating in a dance class. Flattery fell in love with dance.

Life can be chaotic, but dance is a release, he said.

“It’s like a world of your own,” he said. “It’s like an escape.”

Tim Flattery (left) works out with female members of the squad during a recent practice. (Photo by Richard Gwin)

“You’re on the dance team?” Flattery recalls skeptics asking. “We’ve never heard of a boy on a dance team.”

But Flattery never hesitated, never feared standing out.

“I had to keep true to myself and keep doing what I love to do,” he said. “I never felt restrictions because I’m a very strong-willed person.”

Flattery was the captain of the high school squad for his sophomore, junior and senior years.

He said he and others used their dance studio training and passion for dance to transform the team. They went to competitions in Texas and Missouri, and gathered accolades.

“We started turning heads,” he said.

But Flattery didn’t want to steal the show. If someone gave him praise, he responded by asking about the entire team’s performance.

“Just because I am a different gender doesn’t mean all the focus has to be on me,” he said. “I’m a team player.”

A new level

Now a dance major at KU, Flattery is confident in his abilities.

“I know how to perform,” he said. “I know how to get the crowd going.”

Finding a spot on the KU dance team isn’t easy, Ruble said. The team has placed among the top five in national competitions in the last three years.

More than 75 students registered for tryouts.

Senior Deena Schaumburg, a Lawrence native, tried out two other times before making the cut this year.

“To me, being on the team is a dream come true,” she said. “I can’t wait until the first game.”

The dancers seek a place in the spotlight viewed by thousands in Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse.

“I get goose bumps,” co-captain Clara Simmons said of performance. “It’s probably the biggest energy rush.”

The dancers’ schedule will be booked most of the year with football games, basketball games, pep rallies and public appearances at anything from bar mitzvahs to fairs.

“We put in just as much time as athletes do,” said co-captain Krystal Nabity.

During the busy season, it’s not unusual for the dancers to be performing for six hours straight.

The show

Like the rest of the dancers, Flattery can’t wait for performance.

“I have never done any kind of performance in a huge arena like the KU football field or Allen Fieldhouse,” he said. “I can’t wait to get out there.”

And in the process, he hopes his participation opens doors for other male dancers who have the desire and the skills to dance at the collegiate level.

He hopes no one — male or female — is held back because of gender.

“Don’t ever be afraid to go for what you want,” he said. “Never hold back because you think there are restrictions.”

The team will perform Monday during Traditions Night at Memorial Stadium.

“We’re ready,” Flattery said. “We’re ready to show our stuff and get out there.”

Friday, August 11, 2006

UWSP Dance Team, Cheerleaders, Mascots Suspended Pending Investigation

By Patrick Thornton
Stevens Point Journal

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has suspended the student athletic entertainment organization pending the investigation into possible hazing and underage drinking violations during a dance team party last school year.

The University will schedule a hearing for the dance team before the policy and advisory committee for student organizations sometime in late September.

But until that board meets, the university's cheerleaders, dance team and mascot will not be allowed to participate in any University activities, including home football games, said Laura Ketchum-Ciftci, the director of University Centers.

The UWSP football team hosts the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Sept. 16.

Because the complaint was filed against the organization, and not the team, all athletic entertainment groups are affected by the action.

"The decision is up to the students on the advisory committee," Ketchum-Ciftci said. "And in a lot of ways the students are a lot harder on each other than the University would be. I can't tell you what's going to happen, but it is possible that all the members of the athletic entertainment organization could be affected."

Last spring photos surfaced on at least two Web sites of dance team members drinking at an off campus bar. The photos were posted in an online album entitled "UWSP Dance Team Initiation." Some of the photos were sexually suggestive and several of them showed underage students drinking.

"Right now the issue is hanging over all three programs because the only group we can deal with officially is the organization," said Bob Tomlinson, vice chancellor of student affairs . "But if the board determines there is reason for disciplinary action, that could be focused against just one program."

The university reviewed the photos and filed a complaint against the student organization. Members of the team were contacted over the summer, but not everyone involved could be reached, Tomlinson said.

The team's adviser, president and any other members will have a chance to testify at the hearing.

"We aren't going to let this go away," Tomlinson said.

The student panel is made up of roughly 13 members, Ketchum-Ciftci said. The University will spend time at the beginning of the school year training the students on the panel on the procedures for the hearing and the student code of conduct.

"The dance team is part of a student organization and they have a code of conduct to follow like every other organization," she said. "We have done numerous hearings like this before. The sanctions could run from a written warning to probation to possible suspension for up to a semester.

"The students are given rights, but there are also responsibilities."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jolie Roberts Takes Sacramento State Hornet Girlz To New Heights

College Dance Team Central Exclusive Feature

Sometimes life takes you in new directions, places that you may not see yourself going, and the story has not been any different for Jolie Roberts, head coach of the Sacramento State Hornet Girlz dance team. Just four months after giving birth to a baby girl in 2003, Roberts found herself in charge of a collegiate dance team for the first time, and has developed the squad into one of Sacramento State’s top ambassadors in just a few short years.

Roberts took charge of the team after a close friend and fellow dance colleague was hired to coach the squad, but was forced to remain on bed rest during her pregnancy. She asked Roberts to become an interim director for the season, and was asked by the school to stay on as coach after her friend decided not to return. Although Roberts brought an impressive amount of dance experience to her new job, transition to coaching a collegiate team was a challenge. “To put it mildly,” says Roberts. “I endured my first season of what I call a major learning experience.”

Success was just around the corner, though, as the Hornet Girlz entered the USA Collegiate Nationals in her second season at Sacramento State and promptly won a national championship in the hip-hop division. Drawing on the experience that members of her squad already possessed, she had one of her team members choreograph a hip-hop routine that the squad learned in six weeks prior to nationals. Wearing costumes designed by two of the team members, the squad claimed first place and gained increased media attention in the Sacramento area, appearing on several local news stations. “It was funny because there was still a lot of evolving I was doing as a coach and the team had to go along for the ride,” says Roberts. “It was a nice way to end the season, especially since the Sac State Dance Team hadn’t brought home a title since 1997.”

Although Roberts had no previous dance team experience prior to taking over the Hornet Girlz, she is hardly a stranger to competitive dance and fitness. The Sacramento native started dancing at the age of 11, and competed heavily in the dance scene, even placing third with her partner at the “I Love Dance” nationals in Las Vegas. She began teaching at 15, and rapidly progressed to advance level classes by the time she was 18. She attended Sacramento State at the age of 25 and was a dance major for a year, dancing in the Jazee dance company as well as the Leaps of Faith dance ensemble before graduating with a degree in Humanities and Religious Studies in 2002. Roberts remains active in dance and fitness, teaching step aerobics, body sculpting, and abs attack, while continuing to take dance classes. She also travels to local high schools and offers master classes in jazz. “Dancing is like breathing to me,” says Roberts. “It is a huge part of what defines me as a person.”

For those unfamiliar with the world of collegiate dance teams, it might seem that it’s as easy as showing up and performing with a smile on your face. But that could not be further from the truth. In fact, the training regime that Roberts uses to prepare her squad could rival any football training camp across the country. The Hornet Girlz begin team practices in June, just to make sure that the team is ready for the demands of the upcoming season. While most students are enjoying a break from the rigors of college life, the Hornet Girlz are enduring two weeks of 2-a-day practices that consist of running, body sculpting with weights, and a pilates/yoga cool down…and that’s just the morning session. The afternoon brings more cardio workouts, step aerobics, and 40 minutes of dance exercises that includes barre work and “across the floor” drills to strengthen dance technique. Once the season starts, the Hornet Girlz have two three-hour practices to clean up routines and perform at 1-2 games per week. “Since we have such a demanding schedule, I only take the most committed individuals,” says Roberts. “I let them know exactly what will be asked of them before they audition.”

The commitment that it takes to be a Hornet Girlz member extends beyond the dance floor and the gym, though, as the squad is active in both fundraising and community service events throughout the year. Although the university provides the team with a stipend, the squad holds two car washes in the summer and provides dance clinics for the community during football and basketball seasons to help pay for national competition fees and other team needs. The squad also performs at campus events, cancer benefit walks, local dance recitals, and danced at local malls last year to help raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. “I try to get the team out in the community as often as possible,” says Roberts.

Roberts realizes that the Hornet Girlz could not operate without the support of the Sacramento State athletic department, and she is quick to give credit and thanks to those in the school administration. “The athletic department runs on a strict budget, but our Athletics Director, Dr. Terry Wanless, has always made it a priority that the dance team receives a yearly stipend. My immediate boss, Adam Primus (marketing director), always has us selling programs or athletic bracelets to help offset costs,” says Roberts. “The director has always stood behind our program even when there was high turnover of coaches, and I just can’t say enough about the Sac State athletic staff.”

As the summer of 2006 comes to an end, Roberts has the Hornet Girlz primed for another outstanding school year. Each year the team travels to the USA Collegiate Camp in Anaheim, CA where the squad spends four days learning dance material for the entire season. Roberts also choreographs a number of 30-second end zone and time-out routines for the season, and hires a former dance team member to choreograph a jazz routine for nationals. And while one of her goals as coach is to continue developing the Hornet Girlz into an excellent program, Roberts strives to reach her team on a much deeper level. “As a mother of a three year old daughter, I understand how important it is to guide and direct in such a manner that will allow these women to see their self worth in a positive way,” says Roberts. “I want to assist somehow in their growth and maturity in order for them to offer their best in this world.”