College Dance Team Central

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Idaho State Bengal Dancers Feature

National champions, super fundraisers, community supporters, oh yea, they're pretty good looking

By Todd Itami
ISU Bengal

The 2007 USA Hip Hop champions are one of ISU's most valuable assets. These 17 girls are truly amazing.

It can be conceived that perhaps in some remote notion of the idea of the University's dance team that they are just a group of really good looking girls who also know how to dance. This somewhat chauvinistic stereotype is immediately put to rest once you put forth any effort to discover the true nature of the group.

The first thing that stood out to me with the group is the intense level of physical and mental effort put into the team. Not only do the dancers work-out, take dance classes, and teach dance on their own, but they are required to practice another 9 hours with the team (12 hours during competition season).

On top of team dance practices, there are also four hours a weak of team work outs including weight training, spinning, ballet, and aerobics! Add this to the week-long summer dance camp and showing up a month before school starts for daily practices, and you have one of the hardest working groups of students on campus.

If we were to end the dialog here, I would hope that you would be sufficiently impressed, but there's more.

We could all take a page out of the fundraising book of the Bengal dancers. Each girl is expected to contribute to the fundraising effort. By day one of school, the dancers had already raised some $11,000 for this academic year. With shirts, calendars, performances, commercial appearances, kids clinics, choreography workshops with high schools, and a end of year dance concert, this team is the top fundraising group pound-for-pound on campus.

But they get a scholarship right? Well, yes, they do get a $750 scholarship each semester. I find it ironic that most of the girls have fundraised that much before midterm of the first semester. In fact, each girl is furthermore required to pay several hundred dollars in equipment and other dance related expenses.

Not only do they win national championships and place runner-up in the national NDA competition in Florida for the last three years, but they are SMART! Bengal dancers are academics. Accounting, dental hygiene, radiographic science, and nutrition are just a few of the competitive programs that Bengal dancers graduate in each year.

The student coach Lindsay Tucker for example, was accepted to Harvard as an undergrad and is currently a doctorial candidate in the Audiology department.

Dana Smith, owner of one of the largest and most successful dance studios in Pocatello, DSDS said, "A lot of my girls aspire to be on the Bengal Dance team from a young age." The dancers are definitely a community influence interacting with high school and youth groups, not to mention other community organizations. The Bengal Dancers are an invaluable tool for recruiting and improving Idaho State University.

So much more can be said about this dance team. I am just totally impressed by the level of dedication to our university by these girls. If we only had more students like the dancers.


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