College Dance Team Central

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kutztown Dance Team Prepares For 76ers Performance

By Mike Clay
The Keystone

The KU Dance Team will be performing during halftime of a Philadelphia 76ers game this year for the fourth time in three years. The game, against the Orlando Magic, will be at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia on Saturday, April 14 at 3 p.m.

The women are scheduled to perform a five-minute routine comprised of various routines that were performed at on-campus events throughout the year. The team, considered a hip-hop/jazz dance team, has performed during special school events and during halftime at home basketball games throughout the season.

Leading this year's squad is team president and senior Professional Writing major Christine McDermott.

"Our team works hard year round to prepare for KU's basketball games and we are really excited to be performing at a 76ers game for the fourth time," said McDermott.

The program has made a name for itself over the past few years, as four former members of the team are now dancing at the professional level.

2005 KU graduate Kate Beaver and current KU student Vi Nguyen are on the Sixers dance team. 2006 graduate Kerri Wright is on the Philadelphia Kixx's team and 2005 graduate Erica Dieter is on the Reading Express Smokin' Hot Steam team.

Members of the alumni, as well as school mascot Avalanche, are expected to be at the game to lend their support. The women still must sell 250 tickets in order to be able to perform and will be selling tickets from March 26-28 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the McFarland Student Union Building lobby. Beaver and Nguyen are expected to be on campus on March 26 to help the team try and reach its goal. Ticket prices range from $30-$66 and transportation can be made available at an additional cost. The 2007 Dance Team posters will be sold for $6 at the table, as well.

"We really hope we can sell a lot of tickets this year," said McDermott. "If a lot of KU students go to the game, we can make this a big KU event at the Wachovia Center."

For more information on the event, the team can be reached at

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dozens Audition for UH Dance Team

By Terri Inefuku

They heat up the court with moves the Warriors could only dream of and they're in the endzone more often than receivers. The Rainbow Warrior dance squad may not be a recognized sports team, but they're still star athletes.

And like any other sport, there are tryouts. Today more than 40 dancers, girls and guys, are hoping to make the team. Nearly half of them will be cut.

"I didn't eat any breakfast because I was scared I might get butterflies or something," said squad hopeful Deonna Leeloy, who is a varsity cheerleader and dance team member at Castle High School.

"He cuts people that have been on the team before so you know, you have pull up every year," said UH dance captain Jonelle Layfield.

The auditions are intense. Dancers must prove they can kick, jump and turn with grace.

"We like to see who has the technique in dancing because they do a lot of technique when they do the routines," explained Marcelo Pacleb, the team's director. "You can see who the beginners are and then who the trained dancers are."

Dancers are also tested on their cheering skills. Pacleb dreamed up the combination a few years ago. "Instead of just doing dancers on the sidelines and at halftime, we wanted to get them more involved with the game and the crowd," he said.

Once on the team, dancers practice three times a week and perform at all the football and basketball games. They also perform at the WAC tournament at the end of the season.

Making the squad is an opportunity of a lifetime for these dancers - a chance to show that they too are Warriors.

There's another bonus for the dancers. Each receives a partial tuition waiver and an academic credit.

Friday, March 09, 2007

UCLA Dance Team Wins Big At Nationals

By Brittni King
The Daily Bruin
March 7, 2007

Almost a year spent in preparation pays off as UCLA squad captures top place for the first time at Las Vegas competition

The 2006-2007 UCLA dance team has made history this year, winning first place at the United Spirit Association’s Collegiate Nationals. The win came in Las Vegas on the weekend of Feb. 12-13, and was the dance team’s first win at the competition.

The best part about the win?

“We beat USC,” captain Christy Delp said.

The road to the championship at the competition was a long one, beginning last April with tryouts. The tryouts to make the team were a two-day process in which prospective members learned a sideline routine to the fight song, and then a routine more focused on dance and technique. These routines were performed on the second day in groups of three, and those who made it to the final round performed a selection of their own. In all, the squad consisted of nine members.

“I feel that with the restricted amount of space we have on the football field and to represent the overall dynamics of the university, nine is a good number,” adviser Mollie Vehling said. “Eleven and we get a little crowded on the football field, seven looks like you are missing people. I like working with odd numbers because then your formations always have a center.”

Once the dancers were determined they began practices in May, and then took a few months off. They picked it back up in August with a week-long bootcamp. During this bootcamp, they worked with trainer Derrick Baker for two hours from 7-9 a.m., then began learning routines.

All of these practices culminated in the dance team’s performances at the football and basketball games.

A typical day for the dance team at a football game lasts 12 hours. The team meets to take a bus to the Rose Bowl six hours before the game. Once there they run through the routines on the field, and two hours before the game they perform a pre-game show. Once all this preparation is done, the game goes for another four to five hours, in which the team is constantly performing.

Basketball has a shorter time span, but is no less important to the team. The dance team meets at the Wooden Center an hour and a half before the game to go over the halftime routine, then head across to Pauley Pavilion to go to the game.

During football season the team travels to all the away games, and during basketball season it travels to tournaments and away games that are nationally televised. However, it does not travel to away Pac-10 games, with the exception being the USC game.

“It’s a Pac-10 rule,” Vehling said.

Vehling and the team arrange all of this travel. During the month of March, the team is on the road for most of the time, depending on the basketball team’s success.

For the competition, the team added six additional members this year. These additional members auditioned later in the year, at an audition where anywhere from zero to six members can be chosen. These members were added to provide more depth to the team at competition.

Brette Markowitz, one of the dance team members, choreographed the routine for competition. The team performed to “He’s a Dream,” from the movie “Flashdance.”

The song has both fast and slow sections, which was a good balance for the team.

“It was a really fun routine to do,” Delp said.

The team had to bring its A-game, with only one shot to make it to the final round. After competing in the large division, the dance team finished in the top five and made it to the final round, where it finished first in the division.

“Once you get off the stage, it’s a good feeling,” Delp said. “We hadn’t watched the other teams. We didn’t know how they did until after we found out we won. It was an amazing surprise.”

The accomplishment was one that the tight-knit unit shared together. The team has also had to share in the fight against preconceived notions that people have about dancers.

“The team is really cohesive this year,” Delp said. “Besides sharing all their memories, the team has to fight the stereotype of a not-so-smart dancer/cheerleader. We all got into UCLA on our academics, not on our dancing for the team,” Delp said.

FIU Dancers Overcome Injuries, Hectic Scheduling For Squad

By Sergio Bonilla
The Beacon

An FIU Golden Dazzler passes out on the floor during practice, yet she smiles as she sees one of her teammates help her up while the other dancers continue their routine.

This year's Golden Dazzlers team - FIU's only official dance team - is continuing the tradition of aiding and guiding one another through practices, competitions and performances, a tradition that began in 1989.

Their identity as a dance team is defined by a variety of styles including pop, jazz and hip-hop. The girls begin training camp every June and periodically perform and practice each style throughout the year at University football, volleyball and basketball games.

"It's an 11-month commitment to be a Dazzler," Popritkin said.

Popritkin was a Golden Dazzler dancer from 1992 to 1995 and she coached the team sporadically after graduating from FIU; her responsibilities as a Dolphins' cheerleader captain did not allow her to coach the team full-time from 1997 to 2000. However, she departed from the Dolphins in 2000 and has coached the team full-time since 2001.

Besides performing during basketball, volleyball and football season, the Dazzlers perform at FIU-related events and externally requested events such as the Latin Grammys. They are also obliged to be full-time students enrolled in 12 credits and attend practices six to nine hours a week.

"I believe only a former Dazzler can be coach," Popritkin said. "Only a Dazzler knows how stressful it is."

In April, the 22 Golden Dazzlers will be competing in the National Dance Alliance championship, which consists of a two-minute routine incorporating hip-hop, jazz and pom styles.

Since its formation, the Golden Dazzlers have always competed under Division I. The 2007 competition will be the first time the Dazzlers compete under Division 1-A, which is considerably more competitive.

The higher level of competition will change the team's approach when scouting potential Dazzlers, a process which involves visits to high school performances.

"We're going to be recruiting much more aggressively," Popritkin said. "That's what happens when you move up a level."

The transition to compete against more talented teams has added extra pressure on this year's team, but the members maintain each other's morale through their friendships.

"We are like a family," said sophomore Monica Flores, a Dazzler. "We're always together and we learn so much about each other. We always go out, even on Thursday night when we have practice Friday morning."

Flores is recovering from a torn ACL in her left knee. During practice, she sports a black leg brace, but she was cleared earlier this year to dance and now participates in the majority of the practices with the team.

Her injury has not allowed her to dance with the team since May 2006, but she has remained determined throughout the rehabilitation process.

"I've learned not to give up after an injury," Flores said. "So many people would just lose hope and not try to come back. My determination has proved to my teammates that you can come back from serious injury."

Flores' teammates helped her during her weakest physical and emotional moments. On the day she had surgery, the team visited her house to raise her spirits.

When Flores was unable to stand in a shower, her teammates aided her.

"They took me to a sink and washed my hair," Flores said.'

Her teammates' attentiveness left Flores with a gracious outlook.

"I'm always telling them now not to be lazy and appreciate dance while you can," Flores said. "It can be taken from you so easily."

Her team captain, junior Shea McMayo, who has been with the team for three years, also shares Flores' leadership attitude. Although she is a performer, she considers herself shy. Her teammates' presence, however, eases the pressures of performing in front of large crowds.

"Dancing with the team helps my confidence so much," McMayo said. "My teammates around me give me support."

As team captain, McMayo has to lead both veteran members as well as newer members such as sophomore Vanessa Marrero. Marrero understands the dedication and time management required to be part of the Dazzlers.

"Being a Dazzler makes you face reality," Marrero said. "It sets you for life because if you can get through this, then you can get through anything."

This year, Popritkin grouped 22 personalities to form a team that works together, struggles together, laughs together and dances together during 11 months of the year.

"Being a Dazzler isn't as easy as it looks," Popritkin said.

Michigan Hosts Dance Competition

Dance, Cheer Competition at U of M to Attract 4,000 Women From Around the State, Saturday, March 10th

ANN ARBOR, MI - Four-thousand high school women representing 50 high school, junior high and dance studio teams from around Michigan will visit the University of Michigan Campus Crisler Arena, Saturday, March 10 for the 2007 Michigan Dance Team/Cheerleader Championships.

The celebration of women and dance is being organized and hosted by the University of Michigan Dance Team, a club sport at U of M, who appear at all football and other sports' activities and events at the school, and its coach, Valerie Stead Potsos.

Potsos, who also operates Dancer's Edge Studio in nearby Dexter, home to 350 dancers ages two years and older, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and was a member of the U of M Dance Team from 1991-94. Dancer's Edge was recently named one of the "Top 50 Studios On The Move" by a national dance trade publication.

The March 10th competition will include:

* Dance Teams competing in Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Pom and Kick

* Solo, duet and trio competition

Each team will receive a trophy.

Additional information is available at Dexters Dancers

MSU Dance Team Offers Clinic For College, High School Dancers

by Stephanie Estes, student writer
MSU Today
March 2, 2007

The MSU Dance Team is hosting its spring clinic for college and high school dancers from 8-10 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, at the IM Circle building located at the corner of W. Circle Drive and Kalamazoo Street on MSU’s campus.

Designed for those interested in auditioning for the Dance Team, the clinic is a great way to meet team members, and learn choreography and technical requirements for the upcoming Dance Team auditions.

The Dance Team performs before sellout crowds at MSU basketball games at the Breslin Center. There is a $10 fee for clinic participants; registration begins at 7:45 p.m.

Dancers will learn a short routine, similar to the one that the Dance Team performs at time-outs during basketball season and practice dance technique.

“The clinic provides a great chance to get a workout, have fun and meet other dancers,” said team member Stephanie Estes. “Dancers of all skill levels are welcome to attend.”

The clinic will include a warm-up, brief technique session and a hip-hop/jazz routine.

Dancers are advised to wear comfortable attire; dance shoes and tennis shoes are acceptable.

The university funds the Dance Team and pays for such expenses as camp fees and uniform costs, said Estes. Fundraising events like the clinic will help with the team’s travel and competition expenses during the Universal Dance Association National Championships.

For more information, contact Caitlin Dougherty at, or visit MSU Dance Team