College Dance Team Central

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Feature On ECU Dancer Laura Lee

Lee Beaming About Birmingham
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Washington Daily News

GREENVILLE — The stunning blonde-haired, blue-eyed sophomore sat on a bench and looked out onto the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on a warm, sunny mid-December afternoon.

It was an unusual position for Laura Lee, a Northside High School graduate. Lee is used to being on the field performing with the East Carolina University Dance Team.

“I love being out there performing,” Lee said. “I like making the audience cheer and getting everyone excited.

“The halftime shows at football look really good. We’ve seen them on video and we’re really proud of them.”

Though Lee is passionate about dancing in front of a packed house at Dowdy-Ficklen, she’s equally excited about performing at a bowl game. She’ll get that chance Saturday when the Pirates (7-5) square off with the South Florida Bulls (8-4) in the PapaJohns.Com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.

“I’m really excited because it shows how hard we work and it really pays off,” Lee said. “It’s nice (the administration) is letting us. It’s really an honor. I’m really glad we get to go.”

Lee and her Dance Team partners will leave for Birmingham by bus Thursday morning. They’ll look to pack in a lot during a short amount of time.

“We’ll probably get there in time for supper and check into our hotel and then we’ll have some free time,” Lee said. “On Friday we’ll have a rehearsal and then we’ll spend some time at the mall. We’re going to have our band banquet and it will be a nice dinner. We’ll get to dress up. They’ll have a slide show and some pictures.

“We’ll have a second rehearsal some time that day and then Saturday is the big day. We get to perform at pre-game and at halftime.”

Lee’s family and friends will be able to watch her as the game will be televised on ESPN2. The game kicks off at 1 p.m.

“That makes me more excited knowing we’re going to be on television,” Lee said. “I’ve already told all my family to turn to ESPN2 and watch me. I told my mom (Beth Lee) to film it. I want to watch the game afterward to see if I’m on TV.”

Lee, who also performs with the team during ECU’s home basketball games, said the dancers put in long, grueling hours to stay in shape and perfect their routines. Along with the training, Lee juggles her schoolwork and a job. She’s been able to handle it all as Lee earned straight A’s this semester.

“I’m so excited,” Lee said. “When the semester started, I knew it was going to be hard to keep up my grades and do Dance Team. We practice all the time, pretty much every day, along with workouts on our own.

“It just made me work harder. I knew I had to keep up my grades so, every chance I got, I would study.”

Not long ago, Lee was also putting in several hours working to obtain her pilot’s license. She earned her license in August.

“I was so excited to get that,” Lee said. “It’s the best thing in the world. I felt like I really accomplished something and I think I made my dad (Larry Lee) really proud because it’s something he wanted me to do, and I wanted to do it for him. He loves flying and I want to love it as much as he does.”

Lee is happy that the Pirates have taken off this year as well, as ECU is playing in its first bowl game since 2001.

“I’m really glad they’re doing good,” Lee said. “I know they were in a slump for awhile. I used to come to the games when I was younger and they would win. Then, all of a sudden, you heard about how they were losing.

“It’s really great because you have a lot of students that want to go to the games and they’re cheering. I actually have some friends who are driving down (to Birmingham) to go see the game. It’s awesome that we’re getting such great support from the students, the fans and the community.”

Lee is hoping to see that trend continue next season. She said the more fans who pack into Dowdy-Ficklen, the better.

“The more the merrier,” Lee said. “I like having everyone out here. I love it when it’s packed.”

The excitement continues for the Pirates on Saturday at historic Legion Field, site of the Bowl. Packed stadium or not, Lee will be smiling with each dance move she makes.