College Dance Team Central

Thursday, February 22, 2007

OSU Dance Team Will Kick It Up At Nationals

By Erika Gee
Issue date: 2/20/07
The Lantern

This year, Ohio State's Dance Team is frozen: that's the theme of OSU's routine for this year's Nationals competition.

The choreographer for Stephen F. Austin State University and instructor for National Dance Alliance, T.J. Maple, came to teach the routine to OSU's dance team.

While dancing to Madonna's "Frozen," the dancers were dripping with sweat, muscles fatigued and sore as they kept up with Maple for an intense two-day session.

Heading to NDA nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla., March 4-8, the team hopes to better its 8th place rank from last year.

The women must compete against each other for a spot in the routine. The team was whittled down from 22 to 16 members with six alternates in case of injury or simply not being able to keep up, coach Natalie Lopez said.

"Auditions for nationals are always very intense because we train all year to dance as one and then we have to compete against our friends," said Jenny Webster, secretary of the team.

Combining jazz, pom-pom and hip-hop dance into a high-energy number is difficult. This year, however, coaches say everyone can handle the load.

"This year everyone's strong," Lopez said.

"T.J. was asking us, 'who are your good turners,' and we were like, actually, everyone," coach Erin Binau said.

OSU's dance team this year is definitely more talented than last year's team, Maple said.

Still, team members say it will be a challenge to perfect this routine.

"You can never do his dances the day you learn them... he plans it that way so that we are challenged and work hard enough so that when Nationals roll around, we are even more proud of what we've accomplished that season," team captain Amanda Parker said.

To clean the routine to perfection, the dancers will skip out on Spring Break and endure hell week, which includes eight hours of rehearsal for five days straight.

"It's like, intense," Lopez said.

Currently, the team practices three days a week and does cardio and weight-lifting in groups on off-days. They are preparing to compete against last year's 2nd place winner, The University of Louisville, and 1st place winner, Brigham Young University.

"At Brigham Young, they're all dance majors," Binau said.

With Maple's choreography, the team members said they are hopeful.

"T.J. always comes up with great visuals. He is also a judge for the company with which we are competing, so he brings that perspective with him when he creates our routines," Parker said.

The team is not funded through the school, doesn't dance at football games and instead watches as other schools' teams perform at Ohio Stadium. These are the hardships Webster said the team faces.

She also said the team is a strong, talented team that is respected at nationals.

Although it is "heartbreaking to see another dance team on your own school's field," Webster said she is excited to perform and compete for her last time.

Brittany Babb, a freshman on the team, said she thinks the routine will do well at nationals.

"We are a very strong team and we can make this routine something to remember and something that is worth an award," Babb said. "Right now it's hard but it will get easier."

The team members will forego some things, including in a normal college life, to be top-notch in Daytona. They said it is worth it.

"You give up going out, sleeping in, your weekends, your spring break... but you gain a family," Parker said.