College Dance Team Central

Sunday, October 14, 2007

UWW Dance Team Is About More Than Just Glamour

By Julia Cherkinian
Royal Purple News

Football games embody the spirit of American culture. Roaring crowds cheer on their favorite team to a hopeful victory. Energy and excitement takes hold as the opposing sides battle for glory. Once halftime begins, the players retreat from the field and the fans settle down, casually mingling and grabbing a bite to eat at the nearest food stand.

Then, all of a sudden, the crowd revs up again as they quickly stand, whistle, and applaud. There's no way halftime could already be over. Then they appear. Several girls in sparkly outfits with shiny poms walk out onto the turf. The dance team becomes the star of the show.

To many, the art of dance is not a sport but merely a recreational pastime. After dancing for fourteen years and participating in various competitions, I can testify that this art form is no less of a sport than football. Dance chass├ęd into my life at the age of four and inspired me to explore ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and poms.

During my sophomore year of high school, I was blessed with the opportunity to become a member of the varsity dance team. This experience taught me just how much hard work and dedication goes into a great performance.

A successful dancer must commit to hard work and lots of practice. You only gain as much as you give. A dance team or company incorporates many grueling hours of practice each week in order to improve and perfect their skills. Flexibility is arguably the most important ingredient to the success of an aspiring dancer. You would be amazed at what some girls can do because of the elasticity in their muscles.

A kick line seems graceful when viewed from the sidelines, but if you went backstage and saw the pain and effort taken to stretch and condition the muscles, a newfound appreciation would take hold. Stretching can become so rigorous that I remember days when it hurt to walk or even sit down. Bruising is a common occurrence from landing hard on your knees or performing various techniques.

During the summer months, my dance team practice began at 6 a.m everyday. The endless drilling of technique and routines accounts for sheer exhaustion not to mention a plethora of sweat. A mandatory dance camp pushes dancers to work 110 percent.

This is no Girl Scout camp. There are no milk and cookies.

Competitions take things to a whole different level. Everything goes into overdrive as practices are doubled and expectations increase ten-fold. The coaches are stricter and demand more than what was once before sufficient. A certain level of trust must be built with the other girls on the team in order to pull off a flawless performance.

Dance team retains this title because it is just that, a team sport. A bond forms, and the team becomes a group of sisters. Just as there is in football, dance team competes at a regional, state, national, and even international level. Numerous rules and codes must be followed or an automatic disqualification occurs. Just one bobby pin in the hair or trace of nail polish and the whole team's chance of placing comes crashing down. If one girl's nails are not short enough, the rest of the team suffers.

Blood, sweat, and tears all go into the process of achieving victory. Your heart and soul is poured out through your movements and spilled across the floor. Many define a sport as a physical activity that uses skill to compete. Dance definitely fits this mold. Next time you find yourself regarding those young women out on the field at halftime as some silly little dancers, think twice. Those dancers have just as much talent and heart as any other athlete.


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