College Dance Team Central

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Freshman Man Performs With Rock Chalk Dance Team

By CJ Moore

When Kansas plays South Florida on Saturday, fans will see a new face on gameday in Memorial Stadium. But instead of wearing shoulder pads, a helmet and making crunching tackles, Tim Flattery will be decked out in a crimson and blue top and black jazz pants displaying his graceful athleticism with the once all-female Rock Chalk Dance Team.

Flattery, an Onaga freshman, is the first male dancer in the history of the dance team, known until recently as the Crimson Girls. This Saturday marks his KU debut in front of a stadium full of football fans who have never seen him dance. Tim’s mom, Vicki Flattery, realizes fans that are there to see bone-crunching football may react to her son’s appearance in a girls dance troupe by asking, “What the hell is that dumb kid doing out there?”

But mom says she knows from past experience that after the male dancer jokes subside and crowds see what Tim can do, they often come away declaring, “That’s Patrick Swayze out there.”

When Tim heard the Crimson Girls had changed their name to a more gender inclusive Rock Chalk Dance team a couple of years ago, he decided to make history. Tim is used to dropping jaws. He played high school basketball and danced during the halftime entertainment. Tim insisted on taking dance lessons as a 9-year-old after years of dancing to the beat of the oldies music his father blasted through the Flattery house. And now, Tim is on campus as a dance major and ready to show the world that guys who dance can be artists and athletes, too.

Not your average family

So where can you find the kind of guy who would try out for an all-women dance team?

Meet the Flatterys.

Tim dances. Dad used to be a lawyer, but decided in 1991 he wanted to build a golf course. Now, instead of dad practicing law, both mom and dad are on the road with the family-owned carnival. Older sisters, Carly and Laney, also work for the family carnie business.

“I’ve been a carnie since I was born,” Tim says. “My family, they don’t want to do the normal, pattern things.”

Born to dance

When the Flatterys went to watch Tim’s two older sisters in school programs, they’d have to sit in the back of the auditorium, because 2-year-old Tim couldn’t resist dancing to the music in the aisles.

Tim blames – or better yet, thanks – his dad for his love of dance.

“Ever since I was very little, he always had music on – The Beatles or Michael Jackson – and I would always dance to it,” Tim recalls.

So when Tim went to his parents and told them he wanted to start dance lessons, it didn’t come as a shock. Vicki or Chris Flattery would drive Tim to Holton, 30 miles east of Onaga, twice a week. And there in a Holton dance studio, Tim discovered who he was.

“It didn’t take long to see that the kid had a lot of ability,” Vicki says. “And like anything, whether it’s soccer or softball or any kind of sport or singing, when you see that, you foster it.”

With his family’s encouragement, Tim kept dancing. When he entered high school, he made his way onto the varsity dance team his freshman year. He was co-captain of the team by the time he was a sophomore.

Tim also played guard for the Onaga High School basketball team. With just over a minute left in the first half, Tim would race to the locker room and swap his basketball uniform for his dance team gear.

Then, to the befuddlement of the opposing crowd who had seen that same kid on the court playing a minute ago, Tim would join his dance teammates for their halftime performance.

By the beginning of the third quarter, Tim was back on the court in his high tops and basketball uniform.

“You’re a really fast changer,” Tim recalls his classmates telling him.

Tim was no stiff on the court. He scored 25 points in a junior varsity game his sophomore year and then nailed a dance routine that his team had been struggling with all week later that night.

Thick skin

Before Onaga embraced Tim as a dancer and surrounding towns learned that he was the star of his dance team, Tim had to prove himself.

“I know a lot of people were fixing their eyes on me because I was the only one who was different,” Tim says.

Vicki remembers sitting in the stands and biting her lip as she saw, “some raised eyebrows and some snickers and some jabs in the ribs.”

Then he would dance and “it was obvious that Tim excelled at this,” Vicki recalls. “If he would have been no better than any of the girls or not even as good as any of the girls, then I think that the ribbing and snickering would have continued. But once he got out there and performed, honestly, pretty much all eyes were on him.”

Tim said he realized he had to let his dancing speak for itself and learn to shrug off criticism with a thick skin.

So when Tim started thinking about choosing a college, he had one thing on his mind: dance.

It was a forgone conclusion that dance was going to be his major. The only question was where would Tim take his talent.

Mom pushed for a junior college.

“I told him that I felt like he could get his education paid for through a junior college, because of his dancing ability,” Vicki says.

Tim didn’t want that. He wanted to show his ability on a bigger stage. He told his mom he’d been a big fish in a little ocean for too long. He was ready to be the little fish in a big ocean.

He was ready to learn and get out of his comfort zone in Onaga. And that’s where the desire to be a Rock Chalk dancer came from.

This summer Tim and his mom drove to Lawrence for the dance team tryouts. Not surprisingly, Tim tried out in a room full of ponytails.

Once the initial shock wore off for the 75 women, they liked the idea of having a male teammate.

Rock Chalk Dance Team coach Tasha Ruble says, “It’s not weird or different for them because a lot of them have danced with males in their studios.”

Tim immediately proved he belonged and when the judges tallied up their scores from the tryouts and he was among the top 22 dancers. He made the team and made history.

“I think he’s probably opening up a lot of doors for other people who may have been nervous about doing that,” Ruble says. “For him to come in and try out around 75 girls, that took a lot and I’m proud of him for doing it.”

When Tim is dancing with the Rock Chalk Dance team, the 5-foot-8 lone male almost gets lost in the mix. Tim spins and leaps into the air in perfect unison with his female teammates. His movements are crisp and with a purpose. He rocks his head back and sways his shoulders to the beat of MC Hammer’s “Do not pass me by.” It’s in that moment where you finally see the difference.

As the women look to the sky and swing their heads back, their ponytails follow behind. But there’s Tim in the middle, and his short, dark blonde hair doesn’t move with the music.

“Either way you’re a dancer,” teammate Katie Rose Hargreaves says, “whether male or female.”

Tim says, “I just want them to know that just because I am a different gender doesn’t mean I’m doing the dance any different. It’s not the girls are over there and I’m over here free styling. We’re a team. We’re together.”

Sometimes that fact is lost on Tim’s mom. When Tim would dance with his Onaga dance team, Vicki would videotape from the bleachers. Being a mom, she would of course zoom in on Tim.

Tim would yell at his mom, “Mom, we’re a team. How am I supposed to know how the team is dancing if I can’t see everyone?”

Tim’s friend, Shannon McNeal, says Tim is becoming well known around campus. “People know him,” she says. But Tim doesn’t want to be a big deal. He just wants to be part of the team.

Can’t stop dancing

As Tim drives to dance team practice in his 2004 blue Cavalier, oldies blast from his radio and Tim starts moving to the music. When Tim hears music, it’s a natural reaction. He dances, even when he’s sitting.

McNeal says, “Every night we go out, no matter if he’s driving or someone else is driving, he’s dancing. And at the parties and pretty much anywhere we go, he dances.”

He will dance for his biggest audience ever this Saturday when 40,000 Kansas fans get their first look at Tim on the sidelines and on the field during the KU football game. Tim has won over his hometown and made people look past his gender. He was daring enough to go to a big college and try out for an all-women squad. Now comes the greatest challenge of all.

Tim’s not in Onaga anymore. He’s in Lawrence and the macho snickering is getting louder. A columnist in the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram made fun of Tim, writing, “Oh, sure, those Big 12 South teams win national championships, but how many have male dancers?” The Kansas City Star, Columbia Daily Tribune, local radio stations and sports Web sites like also picked up on the news.

When word spread to Onaga what was being said about Tim in the papers and on the radio, Vicki called to see how her son was holding up.

“I said ‘are you OK?’” Vicki recalls, her question met by silence. Finally Tim said, “Yeah, I’m just kind of worried about my teammates.”

It hasn’t just been the media who questioned Tim’s place on the dance team. KU students have already made unkind remarks, not to his face, but to his friends.

“They’ve already been jerks,” McNeal says. “The first week we were here we would hear bad publicity every day. People are just really close-minded about things.”

Tim knows what he’s up against.

“I’m on a division 1 collegiate team. This is not going to be little Onaga where I’ll have half the school sitting in front of me knowing my name,” Tim says.

His mom hopes people will give him a chance and that once KU fans see him perform, they will discover what the town of Onaga already knows, Tim Flattery can dance.

“I hope that they will watch his performance and they will let him prove himself,” Vicki says. “And I feel like KU is a liberal enough school and they are open minded enough that they are going to look at this and say ‘you know what, this is a pretty cool deal. And KU is a trend setter.’”

Kansan staff writer C.J. Moore can be contacted at

— Edited by Elyse Weidner

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Success For Miami Dance Team

The Times Gazette

Team takes first overall, gets “Most Spirited” award, receives bid to National Dance Championship

OXFORD - The Miami Dance Team continues along a successful path with an impressive start to its 2006-07 season. On August 6, the team returned from the University of Louisville, where they participated in the 2006 National Dance Alliance (NDA) Collegiate Summer Dance Camp, with three awards to boast.

Miami placed first in Division 1A in the Team Dance Competition, received the "Most Spirited" award voted on by peer dance teams, and was awarded a bid to the NDA National Championship held each Spring in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Chelsea Starks, of Hillsboro and a 2005 graduate of Hillsboro High School, is a member of the dance team. Starks is a sophomore majoring in political science and minoring in family studies.

The first-place Division IA finish in the team dance competition is a first-time accomplishment for Miami. The team beat out powerhouse schools including The Ohio State University and Purdue University and established itself as a team to beat in the upcoming season.

Team Captain Miranda McKirnan said, "We came to Louisville with the intention to represent Miami and build upon our recent success as a nationally-competitive team. We finished at the top not because we have talent, but because we have the ability to effectively leverage our talent through corporative team work. That's what this sport is all about."

The competition took place during the four-day summer camp. In addition to learning individual routines, the team learned one "team routine" containing Jazz, Pom, and Hip-hop choreography which they competed with on the final day of camp. Teams were required to show strength in all three dance styles in order to place well in this competition. Each squad is also asked to choreograph a section of the team routine themselves in an effort to highlight the squad's technical strengths and versatility.

The success Miami had in Louisville did not stop with their first-place ranking. The Miami dancers also qualified for the 2007 NDA National Championship to take place in Daytona Beach in early April. This is the team's fourth year of qualifying for the nationally acclaimed championship. Later this year, they will participate in a "taping" submission in an effort to win a paid bid to the National Championship. Miami has previously been awarded paid bids for the 2004 and 2005 championships, placing fifth and seventh respectively in Division 1A.

The Miami women were recognized for qualities extending beyond their dancing ability in being awarded the "Most Spirited" squad at camp. This award is given to the most motivational and inspirational squad as voted on by all teams in attendance and is a true depiction of admiration by fellow competitors.

The members of the Miami Dance Team also enjoyed individual success during their visit to dance camp. McKirnan, a senior, and freshmen Laura Siedlecki were asked to audition to become NDA dance instructors. Camp attendants asked to join the NDA staff receive this honor after demonstrating exceptional dance technique, style, performance, and leadership during the numerous classes taught during camp and work within their team environment. Siedlecki was also honored during camp by being named All American. Those who decide to audition for All American must perform a Jazz routine previously taught at camp and demonstrate strength in turning and leaping.


About the Miami Dance Team: The Miami Dance Team is the official performance and competition team of Miami Athletics. The team performs at all home basketball games, and various campus events. The team is technically based and specializes in styles of jazz, pom, and hip-hop. For more information about the team, including auditions, visit under "Athletic Department." For more information about the NDA Collegiate National Championship, visit

Thursday, September 21, 2006

FAU Dance Team Shines Under New Direction

Courtesy of the FAU Dance Team

The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Dance Team has undergone an extensive and exciting revision under the management of its new coach and choreographer, Dyanne Knight Loput (pictured right). A former UM SunSation, Orlando Magic Girl, and Heat Dancer, Loput brings a wealth of experience to FAU's dance team. She is also a former coach of the FIU Golden Dazzlers; during her tenure, the Dazzlers were NDA National Champions.

Back from UDA camp in Clearwater, FL where they won three first place/superior trophies, the FAU Dance Team held its fall audition last week and added four more girls for a total of eighteen fantastic dancers. The girls are especially excited about the plethora of new costumes, music, choreography, and the overall contemporary vibe that now permeates every aspect of the team.

FAU's dancers have been working diligently all summer long, and the team welcomes the new season with eager anticipation.

For more on the FAU Dance Team Click Here

Monday, September 18, 2006

UW Stevens Point Dance Team Cleared of Hazing Suspicions

By Alison Struve

Practice is back on for the UW-Stevens Point Dance Team. Their status was in doubt after some racy photos were posted on the Internet that some believed showed new members being hazed.

Now that a student panel has found the team not guilty of hazing, the young women hope the community will give them another chance.

Team co-captain April Mallow says they just had tryouts for this year's team last Thursday, so they couldn't have hazed new members in the spring. And that's what the team told the student panel earlier this week. They explained the pictures show college kids having fun, but were misinterpreted by a lot of people.

April says after a party, one of the team members posted photos on the Web so the other girls could see them. She says they were all shocked and disappointed when someone reported the Web sites to UWSP, since they didn't think they were doing anything wrong.

"I guess we'll just learn our lesson and next time be more cautious, not only with what we put online, but what we do in general, so that people don't get the wrong impression," Mallow says.

April says she's glad her peers judged the case because they understood the situation. And now, the team is getting ready to perform and defend their national championship.

The girls did plead responsible to underage drinking, so the panel put the team on probation for six months. And the captains will do a workshop for the cheerleaders and mascots about the dangers of underage drinking and hazing.

The team plans to perform for UWSP's Homecoming on October 21.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

FIU Golden Dazzlers To Unveil Calendar

The FIU Golden Dazzlers will introduce the first ever 2007 Collegiate Calendar at an unveiling party at Oxygen on September 27, 2006. The Golden Dazzlers, directed by FIU alum Brenda M. Popritkin, will use the calendar as the squad’s main fundraiser for the 2006-07 school year.

For more information please visit the FIU Golden Dazzlers

Friday, September 08, 2006

Delaware Spirit Teams Shine at Summer Camps

Sept. 6, 2006

UD's mascots, dance team and cheerleaders competed--and placed--in a variety of spirit events held Aug. 9-12 at the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) 2006 College Spirit Camp at the University of Scranton, in Scranton, Pa.

During the four-day retreat, the dance team, cheerleaders and mascots mingled with colleagues and competitors, learned new techniques and practiced routines for the upcoming semester.

UD's dance team took third place for home routine (a dance prepared only for the competition), first place for fight song routine and received the Superior Trophy for Excellence for their training at the camp.

“I'm very proud of the team,” Nicole Zehnder, dance team head coach, said. “There was a lot of competition at the camp--a lot of representation of teams from the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] and Atlantic 10--and we had a very young team. It was a really good experience for everyone, because the older team members were good leaders, and the whole team really proved to themselves that they can hold their own.”

YoUDee took second-place mascot honors at the camp--a feat, Sharon Harris, assistant director of public relations and mascot coordinator, said, that wasn't easy, given the challenging competition.

“I'm always very proud of the team's accomplishments,” Harris said. “Attending UCA spirit camps is a great way for the mascots to improve their skills, and the students have a great time performing with other college mascot performers.”

UD's Cheerleading Team took second place for their cheer, won the Most Collegiate Award in Division I and walked away with the Game Traditions Award--an honor given to cheerleading teams with the best track record of excellent performances during games.

“UD was the life of the camp, and the team was always ready to go,” Andy Brown, UD head coach and fitness coordinator, said. “The camp was a really great experience for all team members, and a really inspiring experience for me. I am very proud of them all, and we're looking forward to a great season ahead.”

Article by Becca Hutchinson
Photo by Kathy Atkinson

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jacksonville State Diamond Girls; Making An Impact In The South

A College Dance Team Central Exclusive Team Profile

An elite dance team at Jacksonville State in Alabama, the Diamond Girls are a part of the larger Marching Ballerinas, the dance line for the JSU Marching Southerners band. While the Ballerinas are celebrating their 50th year of entertaining JSU fans at football games, the Diamond Girls were formed just three years ago as the group’s competitive dance squad. The Diamond Girls dance team consists of 12 dancers, and are choreographed by Joy Andrews.

Andrews, who also choreographs routines for the JSU Ballerinas, is a dance teacher that has her own studio in Alabaster, Alabama. The team practices several times a week doing ballet and jazz technique, and prides themselves on having an exceptional kickline. While the Diamond Girls have only competed in regional dance competitions so far, the squad has already won many judges awards and regional titles over the past three years.

This year, the Diamond Girls won the regional title with their Jazz Dance, including a Kickline at International Dance Challenge in Panama City, Florida. They were asked to come back for an encore and won “most entertaining” of the competition with their Hip Hop routine. At Applause Talent in Chattanooga, Tennessee, they won a regional championship with their Jazz routine and recorded the overall high score at the event.

Andrews’ daughter, Jessica, is the squad’s captain and has already won the overall senior solo division and a Judges Award for her “Style and Pizzazz” at International Dance Challenge in Panama City.

With the number of aspiring dancers trying out increasing every year (approximately 80 auditioned for the Ballerinas squad this year, while another 20 attempted to earn a spot on the Diamond Girls team), Joy Andrews is building a tradition of excellence at Jacksonville State. And while the Diamond Girls have not competed in national collegiate competition yet, fans can catch the dance squad making a name for themselves while entertaining fans all over the south.

For more on the Diamond Girls and Joy's Dance Company studio Click Here