College Dance Team Central

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Racer Girls Qualify For National Dance Championship

Team to compete in Orlando, Fla.
By Ashley Edwards

It's not often a University team gets to compete nationally, but the Murray State Racer Girls will be doing just that in January.

The Racer Girls qualified for the Universal Cheer Association and Universal Dance Association College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship to be held Jan. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla.

The team, led by its third-year captain Lauren Moore, senior from Benton, Ill., has never competed before.

Moore said she has wanted to compete since graduating high school.

"This is the competition you dream of when you dance for a college team," Moore said.

Most teams qualify for nationals by attending a camp hosted by the Universal Dance Association, but since the Racer Girls did not attend camp they submitted a video of the team performing a routine. The video was then evaluated and judged against other dance teams from universities of the same size.

Twenty-five dance teams were selected nationally to compete in the two divisions, dance and hip-hop. Moore said the Racer girls will compete in the hip-hop division, which is more freestyle and street dancing. The dance division focuses on proper technique.

"We just decided what type of dance we were strongest in and had the most fun doing," Moore said.

The Racer Girls have already begun working on their routine for nationals. Moore said most teams have a professional choreograph their routine, but the Racer Girls decided to dictate their own routine and have settled on a "shake" theme.

They are practicing three hours per day in addition to performing at basketball games. They are also planning to return from Christmas break early on Jan. 5 to finish preparations on the routine.

"I think we will do really well because we're such a talented team and we're all really close and everybody is working really hard," Moore said.

In addition to the long hours the team is putting in to prepare for nationals, they are also busy raising money to pay for the trip.

Moore said registration costs about $4,000, which includes participation fees, accommodations, a park hopper pass for Disney World and transportation to events. An additional $4,000 is needed to pay for the team's additional expenses.

Rebate nights, concession stand duty, ticket sales and local businesses donations have helped the women raise some funds already.

They are also selling raffle tickets from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. through Dec. 10 on the second floor of the Curris Center. Prizes include a Playstation 2, tanning minutes to be used at Express Tan, a Walmart gift card and a gift card for car washes from Shell Station. The winners of the raffle will be announced Dec. 10.

For another fundraiser, the Racer Girls will host a dance clinic from 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in Carr Health for children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Participants will work on technique and will learn a group dance, which they will perform at the basketball game later in the evening.

Moore said the team has raised about $3,500.

"Everyone is really excited but we are so stressed out about the fundraising," Moore said. "We're trying to stay positive and focus on the competition and not worry about the money."

" … I'm really excited and it means a lot to get the opportunity to compete because I've been able to work with such a good group my last year," Moore said. "Without them I wouldn't have been able to achieve this goal I've had for the last four years."

Student Life Association Adviser Re'Nita Avery has been the Racer Girls' adviser for four years. She said she is excited the team finally has a group that agreed to compete.

"I am very excited for the girls," Avery said. "This is a big step for them and they are really putting forth the effort."

Anyone wishing to support the Racer Girls on their journey to nationals is encouraged to participate in the ongoing fundraisers or make a donation to the team.


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