College Dance Team Central

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Towson Dance Team Takes Home National Title Again

By Ron Matz

Ron Matz reports it's the 10th year in a row the young women have taken home the National Championship Division I title.

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) ― They're celebrating at Towson University. The school's amazing dance team has won another championship.

They are a dynasty of dance and they're champions again. The York Road campus is buzzing with excitement.

Twenty-seven young women star on the Towson University Dance Team.

"I absolutely love it. I love the girls, they're awesome. It's great competing and winning with your best friends, being out there all on the same team," said Jenna Standifer.

Coach Tom Cascella is beaming with pride. His team just brought home the first place trophy from the National Championship Division 1 competition in Daytona Beach.

Towson is now the target in the dance duel at Daytona.

The dance team practices at Stephens Hall. It's a grueling schedule that includes even hours on the weekends.

"It's very demanding. We rehearse two nights during the week and seven hours on the weekend. In addition to that, they all go into the studio on their days off to work on their technique, or go to the gym to work on their aerobics," said Cascella.

The Towson University Dance Team was the top seed in the competition. They defeated more than 150 other schools to bring home the championship.

CU Express Coach Makes Denver Broncos Squad

Morgan alum reaches her ultimate Broncos goal

“It (Broncos interview) was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done.”

Fort Morgan Times

The pain in Liz Harris’ neck wasn’t even connected to the 20 Denver Broncos judges who were probing her football knowledge with John Lynch-like intensity.

“I was practicing my dance routine a few days before and jammed my neck,” the 2000 Fort Morgan High School alumnus revealed. “I twisted a vertebrae, so I had to go visit the chiropractor before I went back for the tryout.”

Ouch. Not a good sign considering this former Mustang state medal-winning gymnast had already failed one year earlier in her first attempt to make the Broncos cheerleading squad.

Plus, at age 26, Robert and Teri Harris’ daughter was also admittedly one of the oldest among more than 200 dancers competing for the 34 roster spots.

“It’s not something you can do forever,” she said. “At some point, you do get too old.”

Yet Liz never surrendered a goal that began “when dad started taking me to Broncos games around age 9.” The family purchased season tickets right near Mile High Stadium’s 20-yard line, exactly where Liz could closely observe what was then a brand-new cheerleading/dance team.

Meanwhile — and perhaps just as importantly — she became equally interested in what was happening on the gridiron. Liz loved all the names from John Elway to Jake Plummer to especially...

“Karl Mecklenburg (former Pro Bowl linebacker). I was a big fan of him, and I think it was mainly because of the way the (public address) announcer said his name,” she recalled.

This football knowledge played a huge role in “the most nerve-wracking thing” she’s ever done. Performing before 70,000 fans was no sweat, because Liz danced for and now coaches the University of Colorado’s “CU Express” team.

However, standing still while being questioned easily became the most stressful part of this spring’s Broncos cheerleading tryouts.

“You get dressed in a business suit, go in on Sunday and stand before those 20 judges,” Liz explained. “They ask you personal questions, football questions and you have to know the Broncos roster. They asked me to name one tight end, and I knew three: Tony Scheffler, Daniel Graham and Nate Jackson.”

In other words, Liz basically “aced” this exam like Elway dominated his final Super Bowl appearance. She credited all those Broncos games plus current boyfriend Reid Kahl, another 2000 Mustang alum who now coaches the Wheat Ridge High School football team.

“Oh yeah, we’ve been known to have the NFL Network on all day,” she said.

But while Liz enjoys football, she was truly delighted about resuming her number one reason to take on the weeklong Broncos tryout process.

“I was just thankful I could get my dance clothes back on and do what I do best,” the Arvada-based hairstylist revealed.

A “Staying Alive” theme developed as 200 prospects were cut to 100, then 69, then down to small groups of three. Contenders must learn a specific dance as judges observe every technique including kicks, splits and pirouettes.

Finalists then perform their own creative dances that “showcase” their specific talents.

“After you’re done, they (the judges) tell you ‘we’ll be back in 20 minutes,’” Liz said. “But it’s more like an hour and a half.”

That’s a time when Liz could focus on other good Fort Morgan friends like “old” buddy Kollette Klassen. Kollette’s pursuing other life goals after spending the past few seasons as a Broncos cheerleader, but that will never break a bond that began during their Morgan elementary school days.

“She (Klassen) has been my best friend for 19 years,” Liz explained. “And she’s helped me so much through this journey. Most don’t make the (Broncos cheerleading) team their first year, and Kollette encouraged me to try again. Plus she’s such a calming influence — whenever I look at her, my nervousness just goes away.”

So a nearly 90-minute wait was no problem, especially when Liz received the long-awaited good news on this Sunday, April 6:

She’d earned her spot on this year’s Denver Broncos cheerleading team.

That’s three recent Bronco cheerleaders who’ve owned Fort Morgan ties: Liz, Kollette and Morgan resident Emily Harper. Harper has also decided to pursue other activities this fall.

Both the fun and hard work are still ahead for Liz. Practices begin in June and there’s a weeklong trip for the annual cheerleader calendar photo shoot.

Liz will continue to coach the CU Express dance team while traveling throughout the Denver area for her full-time hairstyling profession. She also spends one day each week working with Call’s Wheat Ridge team on strength, flexibility and agility.

Don’t forget the many hours of community events involving the Broncos cheerleading team.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the Broncos juniors cheerleaders, and hopefully being a good influence for them,” she said. “It is a lot of work. You never sit down on (Broncos) game days. You’re constantly on the go.”

Liz also mentioned that her travels include one day a week of hairstyling work in Fort Morgan. Those interested can contact her at (303) 768-6910.

The New Paltz Dance Team

By Pierce Lydon, Copy Editor
The New Paltz Oracle

It’s pretty fair to say the people love to dance. You dance at the bar. You dance at parties. You probably even dance by yourself in your room to your favorite songs. Well, if you really love to dance then have we got a club for you!

The New Paltz Dance Team has been an active organization for over two years but just recently became recognized by the Student Association. They originally began as a kickline team but as new members became the leaders of the club, their focus shifted a bit.

“We, as a team, have begun to change our focus to more of a dance background, establish more performances throughout the year and collaborate with many of the other groups on campus,” said Captain Beth Frank. “With these new, fantastic changes, we decided to change our name to New Paltz Dance Team to celebrate and specify our growth.”

With their new name and new drive, the team decided to become a part of the Student Association family. They wanted to be recognized on campus and saw the Student Association (SA) as a great networking tool for future collaborations with other clubs, as well as a forum for their ideas and fundraising projects. Joining SA made it easier for them to achieve what they couldn’t while they were an outside organization.

But what if your passion and love of dance exceeds your actual talent? No worries! The New Paltz Dance Team is very open to new recruits from the most experienced dancers to ones that are just starting out. Even the current team has people from all sorts of backgrounds.

“Some of the team members have never danced before while other members have been training their whole lives,” said Frank. “I love that the dance team brings people together, challenges people to do what they thought they never could.”

The New Paltz Dance Team has been very busy this semester. They performed at Fresh Dance, a completely student run dance concert and they perform at halftime for both Men’s and Women’s basketball games. In addition, they dedicate approximately six hours to practice every week.

You can see this hard-working club in action on Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. at an event called Dance Fusion at the Elting Gym. The show will consist of many different organizations performing many different styles of dance. The New Paltz Dance Team will be performing everything from ballet to jazz and kickline. Shades will be performing some step and Culture Shock Dance Troupe will perform hip-hop dances. Fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon will be putting on a ballroom dance and Alpha Psi Ecdysia will debut their burlesque dance group. These groups have teamed with the Sexy Pitches, who will be singing during the performance. Plus, 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, a cause that is very close to some of the performers.

Next year, you can expect even more activity from the New Paltz Dance Team as members of the Student Association. They will still be doing the basketball games and Fresh Dance, but are open to new events and can’t wait for next year.

“We are always up for new performances, especially ones that support a charity or a good cause,” said Frank. “We have a really strong team this year and we can’t wait for auditions again next year!”

If you’d like more information about the New Paltz Dance Team you can contact Beth Frank or check out the New Paltz Dance Team Facebook group.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dancer Gets 'Golden' Chance At Next Level

By Chrissy Smith
The Daily News Online

FRANKLINTON - Danielle Hall is in an elite group of dancers.

Out of 74 hopefuls, Hall was chosen as one of the 16 Golden Girls at LSU.

The Golden Girls dance with the band at the football games. In previous years, the dance team has only traveled with the football squad for one away game, but this year, the Golden Girls will be sparkling at every game.

Hall planned on going to LSU long ago, ever since she decided to become a dental hygienist. Once she was accepted at LSU, she chose to tryout for the dance team.

There were 74 girls who showed up and each one had to perform a solo routine for the judges. After that, 40 girls were let go. The remaining 34 girls had one hour to learn an advanced jazz routine.

"It was really hard," Hall said.

From that, only 16 girls were picked for the final team, and Hall was one of those young ladies.

"I didn't think it was true. It just didn't seem believable," Hall said when she found out she made the team.

The 18-year-old will graduate from Bowling Green School next month. She was on the Treasures from seventh to ninth grade at BGS and was the captain her final year. Then from tenth to twelfth grades, Hall was on the Buccanettes where she was the captain her senior year.

Hall started dancing when she was 3 years old at Dawn Alsord's Dance Academy. She danced there for 15 years and along the way has been helped by Brian Applewhite and Kathy O'Quinn.

Hall has been dedicated to dance all her life. For two months during her senior year, she took a dance class in Baton Rouge every Monday.

"I didn't get home until 11 p.m. or midnight every night," Hall said.

Her parents, Donna and Donnovan, have been supportive of their daughter's dancing path, and are even more pleased now that Hall is on the team at LSU.

The $1,000 scholarship the high school senior gets for dancing at LSU will certainly help in the financial end.

"I'm living in a dorm, and school is expensive living in a dorm," Hall said. She also has TOPS.

Hall's schedule at LSU will be just like a student-athlete. She has to take at least 12 hours a semester and has practice every Monday through Friday from 3:50 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. She also has to maintain a 2.0 GPA.

"Dancing is a sport because you have to have endurance and be a team," Hall said of how her extra-curricular activity is just like anyone else's.

She will get ready for graduation in May and then move to LSU shortly after that.

Columbia Dance Team Reaches Finals at Nationals, Takes 10th

Columbia Athletics

The Columbia University Dance Team finished in 10th place in Division I Dance at the 2008 NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship April 11 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Each competing team is required to perform 30 consecutive seconds of three dance styles; pom, jazz and hip-hop. Teams are scored in ten categories, including technique, routine execution, and performance impression. The teams with scores falling in the top half of each division advance to the finals.

This year, the Dance Team’s performance of a technology themed routine received a score of 8.58, high enough to earn a spot in the finals and a performance on Daytona Beach’s famous Bandshell.

Senior co-captain Alexandra Stylianos attributes the team’s success to their unity and work ethic. “Making finals this year was such a great accomplishment,” Stylianos says, “because it was the goal that we set for ourselves at our very first practice in September. Each and every one of us worked incredibly hard at every practice and we all motivated each other to perform ‘like a finals team’ at every [athletics event] in order to reach our goal.”

First-year head coach Bernadine Goldberg was pleased with the team’s performance. “We are so proud to have been able to represent Columbia University at this level,” she notes. “Nationals afforded us the opportunity to show the country that we have a world-class spirit program. We will only continue to grow from here.”

Stylianos adds, “It was such a privilege to lead this group of girls and I am so happy that we were able to perform on the finals stage in Daytona along with some of the most amazing nationally recognized dance teams.

MT Dance Team Excels In National Competition

By Sarah Lavery
Sidelines Online

In its first year under the spirit program and with a brand new coach, the MTSU Dance Team placed sixth in this year's National Cheer Association-National Dance Association Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.

The team's new coach, Casey Reese, came into the program in February. The team had already started practicing before she arrived.

"I'm so proud of how these girls worked as a team and how they came out on top," Reese said.

During the competition, which took place April 9 through 13 in Daytona Beach, Fla., the team, at first, came just short of making the final round.

But the Dance Team procured the coveted Challenge Cup, competing against other teams that didn't pass the preliminaries for one last spot in the finals.

Before getting the Challenge Cup, the girls were ranked ninth overall in the "Open Dance Division I" category, performing a lyrical jazz routine.

In the end, though, they secured their sixth-place spot.

The team, which recently held its tryouts for the upcoming year, practices twice a week for four hours at a time. The MTSU Dance Team now has 16 new members, and Reese said she couldn't be more excited.

This year, the Dance Team-hopefuls had to master triple Pirouettes, complicated ballet-turns in second position and switch leaps, among many other advanced techniques, just to be considered for the team.

"The new team this year is of a totally higher standard," Reese said. "We're really trying to put MTSU on the map in cheer and dance. We had much higher expectations [in selecting this year's group]."

The MTSU Cheerleading Squad also took part in the competition, but did not make it to the final round. They also tried for the Challenge Cup and placed fifth, which put them at 15th overall.

"We actually had a lot of deductions in preliminaries," said Renee Hathaway, MTSU Spirit Coordinator. "Had we not had them, would have been in third."

The small, co-ed cheer squad, consisting of four males and 16 females, is also a new group. Fourteen of the team's members, in fact, are freshman and had never competed at a collegiate level.

"I'm very proud of how hard the cheerleaders worked," Hathaway said. "They worked for three months just to go down there, and for them not to do what they expected, it is disappointing."

During the upcoming year, Hathaway said she hopes the squad will have two full teams-10 couples on a co-ed squad, 20 members of an all-girl squad and six alternates, and each cheerleading hopeful will have already mastered a standing back-tuck.

"Our standards have gotten a lot higher," Hathaway said. "This year, I would like to see a lot team bonding, a lot of synchronized stunts."

Even more, Hathaway said she hopes the entire MTSU spirit program can work with each other, to create an even better atmosphere at sporting events.

"I want the whole spirit program-cheer, dance and the mascot-to be at all of the ballgames. I don't want [to separate cheer and dance anymore. We will both be on the sidelines. There won't be a basketball game that you won't see the dance team."

William Penn Spirit Squad Adds Pair for 2008-2009 Year

Statesmen Athletics

Oskaloosa--William Penn University spirit squad coach Kristin Libby has announced the signings of Kaley Gray and Emily Anderson to letter of intents to attend the University in the fall and compete for the spirit squad programs.

Kaley Gray, the daughter of Brad and Denise Gray, will graduate from Albia HS in May. Gray, who will participate on the dance team, was selected to the all-Iowa Honor Drill Team in 2008.

A two-year letterwinner in dance and once in cheerleading, Gray was the captain of the Albia Lady Dee-Lites Dance Team the past two years. She also danced at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Emily Anderson, the daughter of Jack and Debbie Anderson, was an Ottumwa HS graduate and currently attends Indian Hills CC, where she has been cheering since 2006. She will participate on the cheer squad.

A State Cheerleader Award honoree, Anderson competed at the University of Iowa Cheer and Dance Championships and received an Excellence of Academic Achievement from the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Feature On Boston University Dance Team At Nationals

Dancing down to Florida
By Ross Lichtenberg
The Daily Free Press

Some students dream of attending the Frozen Four in their time at BU. Some hope to storm the court at an America East championship game to celebrate a basketball team's punched ticket to the Big Dance.

I also dream of watching BU athletics succeed at a national level, but while those mainstream sports struggle to rise to the occasion, my backup team enjoyed some time in the spotlight last weekend.

While the spring sports battle through the heart of the season and the playoff push, one of the forgotten teams on campus - and in many cases a team few people know exists - concluded its season with a successful campaign on the national level.

The Boston University Dance Team traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., to compete in the National Dance Alliance National Championships, and I made the journey to enjoy all six minutes of the dance team's routine Florida.

The BUDT - also known to basketball fans around campus as "that group of girls that performs during halftime" - brings a lot more to the table than just a nice sight when fans are too afraid to glance at the scoreboard of a one-sided basketball game.

Ignoring the 1,200 miles traveled just to have this revelation, I enjoyed two days of watching intense dance competition and felt as though the fifth edition of the "Bring It On" movie series was being created before my eyes - yes, they've actually made four movies about cheerleading. Instead of a bland halftime performance, I found a team that has as much dedication as any other at BU.

After a sixth-place finish at nationals last year and boasting two All-Americans in senior captain Grace Lam and sophomore Allie Bradley, the BUDT looked to solidify itself as one of the dominant programs in the nation last weekend.

When the Class of 2008 entered BU as freshmen, the dance team struggled to receive recognition from the university and had little success at national competitions. As that class now exits BU, the dance team has enjoyed back-to-back Top 10 finishes in the nation after earning a seventh-place finish last weekend.

The BUDT has built the foundation for a highly successful program after years of being a small presence on campus. After witnessing the team's success outside of The Roof, it's even more disturbing to hear the club status of the dance team is in jeopardy for next year.

As a current club team, the BUDT is partially funded by the Athletics Department. Any possible demotion next year could lead to even fewer funds and - in the most extreme case - the inability to continue to perform at basketball games.

It's been hard to sleep at night with that thought in mind. I also heard from an unreliable source that 90 percent of the fans at basketball games really just come to see the dance team.

The dance team is already one of the few competitive squads that lacks either funding for a coaching staff or scholarships, and it's still able to enjoy a great deal of success despite many setbacks not experienced by varsity programs.

Perhaps my dream of a varsity dance team with its own on-campus facility and a season filled with dance-offs might never happen - and I'm willing to accept that. With the impractical varsity promotion likely out of the picture, the dance team's presence as a growing club sport needs to remain on campus.

It's no secret BU athletics wants to change its image in an attempt to gain student attendance and build support for athletic programs. Whether that comes in the form of marketing ploys or new facilities, I agree with the strides BU has taken to improve a game's environment.

One of the greatest reflections of what school spirit should be at a sporting event lies directly on the shoulders of the pep band and dance team. As the only stable on-court presence of school spirit, the dance team's value to BU athletics is more than just an appreciation for dance. With the cheerleaders' inconsistent attendance at basketball games this year, the future of BU spirit seems to be in peril.

Limiting our spirit programs on campus is the exact opposite of what to look for in a growing athletic program. As a representation of school spirit, the dance team's presence at sporting events provides for a positive environment.

Rutgers Cheer and Dance Teams Finish in Top Ten at Nationals

DAYTONA, Fla. - The Rutgers University Cheer and Dance Teams finished in the top ten at the 2008 NCA/NDA Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championships held in Daytona, Florida April 10-11.

The Rutgers Dance Team took 4th place in the Dance Division IA. Rutgers has consistently placed in the top five nationally, last winning the title in 1998.

The Rutgers All-Girl Cheer Team finished in 8th place in the All-Girl Division I category.

You can view performances for both the cheer and dance teams at Varsity, and typing in Rutgers in the search section.

Tryouts for the 2008-09 Rutgers University Dance Team will be held on April 22nd and 23rd, and for the Cheer Team on April 22nd, 23rd, and 28th at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. For more information, visit Scarlett

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NC State Cheerleaders Finish 3rd, Dance Team 6th at Nationals

By Kate Shefte
The Technician Online

For the second year in a row, N.C. State's varsity cheerleading earned third place at NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Holly Humphries, a sophomore in animal science, said that although her team members were proud of their accomplishment, they were hoping for a better result.

"We were a little disappointed because we thought we would be even higher, but at the same time we were proud to be third in the nation," Humphries said.

Chris Hartshorn, a senior in sports management, said his squad hit a few bumps along the way, but he liked the way the cheerleaders handled themselves.

"Everybody was doing their best and trying really hard," Hartshorn said. "We had a couple of things not go exactly the way we wanted, but overall, we did well."

State finished behind Louisville and Oklahoma State. The top five squads will have their entire routine shown on April 26 on Fox Sports Net.

This year marked the first year that the entire varsity squad was able to make it to Nationals. The team carried far more members on its roster last season, but Hartshorn said the reduction in numbers meant that everyone was able to participate -- a detail that made Nationals a more enjoyable experience for all.

"Normally, we take just our competition team, which is about 20 of our cheerleaders plus a couple alternates," Hartshorn said. "This year, we were able to take the entire team, so the experience was a whole lot more fun and a whole lot closer."

Humphries also said having everyone was a positive for the squad.

"It was really nice to have them in the warm-up room with us and yell for us," Humphries added.

In the meantime, the cheerleading squad will still have plenty of things to keep it busy. Spring tryouts begin this Saturday, and the team will be present to support the football team during the spring game Saturday.

"It's going to be another long week," Humphries said.

The dance team also represented the school well, taking sixth place out of more than 20 teams. Holly Faranda, a freshman in psychology, said her team -- which almost didn't make it to nationals due to a plane ticket mishap with the now-defunct airline Skybus -- was happy to be there at all.

"Our coach said that getting there is half the battle," Faranda said. "The first thing we said when we got off the plane was, 'We're here. Let's do this.' It definitely got us motivated to do better."

The dance team also fell to Louisville, and other schools such as Brigham Young will have their routine shown on Fox Sports in the upcoming weeks. While the dance team just missed out on having its routine shown on national television, Faranda said the girls took a step in the right direction.

"Last year, we placed 10th. So it was a pretty big improvement, and everyone was happy with it," Faranda said. "It's what we deserved, and we're happy with what we got."

HPU National Champs Again

The Honolulu Advertiser

The Hawai'i Pacific University Cheerleaders rock again.

HPU captured their sixth consecutive national title at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) and National Dance Association (NDA) Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., over the weekend.

The HPU Large Co-ed Cheer Team won its sixth straight national title (2003-2008).

The HPU Small Co-Ed Cheer Team (consisting of no more than four male members) won its fourth consecutive national title (2005-2008).

The HPU Dance Team won its third consecutive championship, totaling four titles overall (2004, 2006-2008).

The HPU All-Girl Stunt Group consisting of Erin Watters, Lauren Haines, Nicole Orcutt and Savanna Sibley won first place over all national divisions, while the HPU All-Girl Stunt Group consisting of Tara O'Sullivan, Lauren Loeb, Chelsey Kannan and Heather Turner placed second over all national divisions.

HPU's mascot "Sharky the Sea Warrior" placed second among all national divisions.

The Cheer and Dance Collegiate Championship is the world's largest event with teams from Mexico, Japan and Canada and across the United States.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

FIU Golden Dazzlers Announce Audition Date

The FIU Golden Dazzlers will be holding auditions for the 2008-09 squad at the Pharmed Arena on April 27, 2008.

For complete audition information visit FIU Golden

For information on audition clinics click here

Despite Canceled Flight, Dance Team Heads To Nationals

Team members "incredibly grateful" for large grant, private donations

By Kate Shefte
Technician Online

In a time when they should have been putting the final touches on their outfits and routines, the N.C. State Dance team was scrambling to find money for plane tickets. The team purchased their tickets to a national competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., with Skybus, a low-cost carrier that declared bankruptcy late Friday afternoon, and had yet to receive a refund.

"All we're worried about is getting to nationals," Kayla Anderson, a senior in communication, said Sunday. "If we have to walk, we're going to get there."

The team will not have to resort to such desperate measures. Thanks to an outpour of media coverage and public support, the team has raised enough funds to book additional flights on Southwest Airlines and will depart Wednesday morning.

The News and Observer, WRAL and News 14 Carolina were just a few of the media outlets that alerted the public to the dancers' plight, and once the news was out, the donations began pouring in.

"The media coverage has definitely helped," senior captain Lauren Strasser said. "People have called in and wanted to donate and send money to us in checks. The Student Government has tried to help us, and everyone is wanting to help out."

Strasser's father was in contact with Bobby Purcell, executive director of the Wolfpack Club, and Strasser spent most of Monday hammering out details. The team would require even more money in order to purchase tickets at the last minute, but the Wolfpack Club generously donated two times the $3,000 that was initially paid to Skybus.

"It turned out that we were offered $6,000 from him so that we could send the 16 of us that are dancing on the national's stage -- plus our two coaches -- down there tomorrow morning on Southwest airlines," Strasser said. "We're so incredibly grateful for all the help that the Wolfpack Club and Bobby Purcell have given us."

The group of girls left on a chartered bus at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning with State's cheerleading squad, which is headed to Daytona for its own competition this Saturday.

"The only thing that I wish could have been different is that we could all go together, but as long as we get there," senior captain Ashley Beasley said. "It'll be fun. We're really thankful that we can go."

In addition to the help with funds, the team received the support of the NDA, or the National Dance Association. When the group heard about what had happened, they were able to rearrange the team's accommodations.

"They've been working with us with through this whole thing, and the girls that had to go down early because of our situation get to use our hotel room a day early, for free," Beasley said.

According to Beasley, the turbulence that the team has experienced en route to nationals will make them stronger in the competition, saying it added "the extra fuel to our fire."

"I feel like there's a lot of eyes on us now," Beasley said. "All those people, whether they donated 50 cents or $100, want to know that we're making the most of the money they gave us."

The team placed tenth last year at Nationals, with only the top five earning the chance to have their routine performed on national television.

"We're hoping that we can tell everyone that supported us to watch us on CBS in about two weeks," Beasley said.

Beasley's mother, who had intended to fly to Daytona and see her daughter, is now unable to make the trip. With two additional airlines shutting down in the past week alone, the trend does not seem to be correcting itself.

"It's affecting a lot of people across the country, and we're obviously not the only ones," Beasley said.

Red Hotz Dance Team To Compete At Nationals

Red And

Club sports teams at the University do not have the financial advantages of varsity teams, but as the Red Hotz competitive dance team leaves for the NDA National Championship, it will be especially shorthanded.

Of the 23 teams competing in its division in Daytona Beach, Fla., the Red Hotz is the only one without a coach.

The 12-member squad has a captain, Kate Nichols, a co-captain, Orian Edelman, and two lieutenants, but the lack of a coach poses logistical problems even in running a routine practice.

The team practiced for the final time before Nationals on Sunday night, with Nichols cuing up the CD, running to her spot in the formation, dancing and trying to critique the routine when it finished.

If it sounds impossible, that's because it is.

Without someone objective to judge its routine, the Red Hotz, more than any other squad at Nationals, must rely on teamwork and individual responsibility.

"I might lead it and get us going, but we all make corrections, we all help each other, and we all make the changes we need," Nichols said.

"It's a group thing, so I never feel like it's all on me."

Unlike most conventional sports, members of the team lack the benefit of getting to judge themselves against the competition on a weekly basis, so their focus has been internal as they try to improve their fourth-place finish in 2007.

"We're definitely ready to go," Nichols said. "It's a very different dance this year, which is a good challenge. We have a lot of variety in this routine."

As the Red Hotz prepare to compete against the likes of Southern Methodist, Western Michigan, West Virginia and 20 others, the hostilities of traditional rivalries will not be present in Daytona.

"There's a mutual respect among all the teams," Edelman said. "It's not a bitter competition. We're all proud of each other."

The Red Hotz will compete in the Open Division I championship, and its preliminary routine will be at 11:14 a.m. Thursday.

Live scoring and a video Webcast are available through If the Red Hotz team finishes in the top 13 in Thursday's competition, it advances to the finals, which will be held Friday and televised on a tape delay on Fox Sports Net.

The theme for the Red Hotz's 2008 routine is "work," but the Daytona weekend will bring some long-awaited relaxation, win or lose.

"It's a nice treat for a hard year of work," Edelman said.

ISU Competing At Nationals For First Time

By Ben Corn
Indiana Statesman

The Indiana State University Sparkettes will be competing in their first Nationals competition this week.

Tammy Schaffer, the director for the Sparkettes, said this will be a learning experience for the Sparkettes.

"We only know competition through what we've seen on the computer," Schaffer said. "We're going to see how it works. A competition dance team is very different (from a performance dance team)."

Senior officer, Lacey Lindauer, said she has higher goals than just finding out what the competition is like.

"We want to at least make it to the finals," Lindauer said.

The Sparkettes entered as a video bid, which means they weren't at camp and instead sent in a video and qualified for the competition.

The Sparkettes have been getting ready for the competition since August but, with responsibilities at football and basketball games and other appearances, the Sparkettes have just started to really focus within the last month.

Junior officer Whitney Nord said the team is ready to compete.

"We didn't get excited until the past couple of weeks," Nord said. "We're starting to peak now."

Schaffer said the Sparkettes will perform a dance very similar to the style they perform for the ISU community on a regular basis, but it will be done at a "higher level."

Nord said one thing that makes it exciting for the Sparkettes is the fact that they will be performing for an audience that isn't pro-ISU, necessarily. She said that at an ISU sporting event, for example, the applause isn't necessarily earned by the Sparkettes, because it can be earned by the sports team in the same venue.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Four Sisters, Two Decades of Wisconsin History

From UW

Four sisters. One university. One UW Spirit Squad tradition.

For nearly two decades (1989-2008), a daughter of Joseph (Joe) and Rose Jaucian (HOW-shin) has walked the streets of downtown Madison, attended class near Bascom Hall, relaxed at Memorial Union and sported a UW Spirit Squad uniform.

All four J’s—Jennifer, Josette, Jaimee and Jackie—attended the University of Wisconsin. The sisters, who share a common interest in the sciences, also share a love for performing. Upon arriving on the UW campus, each sister tried out and joined the UW Spirit Squad. The two eldest cheered, while the younger pair danced.

A 14-year age gap separates the oldest sister from the youngest. Jennifer (Jaucian) Siu, a wrestling cheerleader from 1989-92, is 36 years old. Jackie, a member of the UW Dance Team from 2004-08, is the youngest at 22. Josette (Jaucian) Scheer, who cheered from 1992-97, is 34, and Jaimee, who danced from 1999-2003, is 26.

Growing up, the age disparity between the two oldest and the two youngest children, made it difficult for the four girls to develop similar interests, or to even establish a close relationship. When Jennifer left home to enroll at the UW in 1989, the two youngest girls were under the age of 10, and were interested in children’s activities, not Badger athletics.

“By the time I was in college, they were still in elementary school,” current UW Spirit Squad Director, Josette, said. “They were pretty young, so there wasn’t really a close bond between all of us. Back then, we (Jennifer and I) were in our own world, being college students and having fun. We’d go home to visit and hang out with the girls, but there was such a different interest level.”

At the toddler age of three, Jackie began figure skating. By the time she was eight years old, the youngest Jaucian was training and competing in Indianapolis. At the very same time in a different place, her three sisters, too, were absorbed in their own competitive activities.

The Beginning

Joe and Rose Jaucian opened countless doors of opportunity for their daughters when they left the Philippines for the United States in 1974. At the time, Jennifer was three years old, Josette was just six months old and the two youngest had not been born. The Jaucians, who had yet to discover the Wisconsin Badgers, wanted an improved life for their children. Once in the United States, the then-family-of-four settled in Middleton, Wis., where they lived until Josette left for college in 1992, and then moved to Illinois. Somewhere along the way, Bucky Badger became an honorary seventh member of the family.

“Even though my parents did not attend the UW, they are committed Badger fans for life,” Jaimee, now a dance therapist in Chicago, said. “They came to the U.S. from the Philippines to give us a better life, and that’s exactly what they did! They allowed us to choose our own paths, and encouraged us along the way. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities they opened up for us.”

It was also Joe and Rose who first introduced their two oldest daughters to dance, and in turn, performance.

“They always instilled a love of dance in us,” Jennifer said. “When we were younger, Josette and I were very active in a local Filipino dance company. I think that had a lot to do with our interest in dance and cheerleading.”

Jennifer was the first to perform, cheering for wrestling matches and football games in high school. A gymnast, Josette competed through freshman year of high school before switching to cheerleading.

“Once I hit high school, my sister, who was three years older than me at the time (she was a senior when I was a freshman), was into cheerleading and I decided that I wasn’t going to get too far in gymnastics and moved over in cheerleading,” Josette said.

While parents Joe and Rose played a major role in encouraging their daughters to pursue their dreams, eldest sister Jennifer believes she played some role in her sisters’ interest in both cheerleading and the Badgers.

“I like to think I had a big influence on my sisters,” Jennifer said, “but they may not agree. Josette is three years younger, and I was actually her cheerleading coach when she was in high school. It was really fun to see her make the transition from gymnast to cheerleader. I also remember Jaimee and Jackie, who were probably nine and four years old at the time, coming to my wrestling meets and playing in the bleachers.”

Both Jaimee and Jackie agree that while growing up, their biggest role models were Jennifer and Josette, who they wanted to emulate. But while their older sisters concentrated on cheerleading in high school and college, the two youngest sisters chose a different route—competitive figure skating. To supplement figure skating, Jaimee and Jackie also took dance classes, which eventually led to dancing in high school and later at Wisconsin.

“I remember going to wrestling meets when I was younger to watch my older sisters cheer,” Jaimee said. “Jackie had the little cheer outfit and had a UW cheer-themed birthday party in kindergarten. I definitely looked up to them because it seemed like they did it all: excelled in school, pumped up the crowd, had tons of friends and just knew how to enjoy life and have a great time!”

Choosing the UW

The chances of four siblings attending the same university, pursuing the same extra-curricular activities and taking the same courses while working toward similar degrees seems slim-to-none, but that was not the case for Jennifer, Josette, Jaimee and Jackie. While each opted to attend the UW for different reasons, collectively, they simply loved what the University of Wisconsin represented.

Jennifer, the first to attend the UW in the late ‘80s, thought she was lucky to have such a great school so close to her Middleton hometown.

For Josette, education was the primary reason she selected the UW, but its proximity to home was also an important factor.

“I think just growing up in Middleton, a ton of my friends were coming here (to the UW), it was just down the road, it was more convenient and I knew it was a good school,” she said.

Jaimee, who was raised in Champaign, Ill., knew she wanted to go to a Big Ten school, and chose Wisconsin largely because of its well-known history and traditions.

“It was familiar and exciting to me,” she said, “and I knew that being a part of the dance team would be a great way for me to make friends, survive college and continue doing what I love.”

When it was finally Jackie’s turn to leave home, her decision was easy, as the youngest Jaucian never considered an alternative. Growing up in Illinois, she was dubbed the “Wisconsin Girl,” as her preferred clothing-of-choice, Wisconsin Cardinal & White, reflected her inner Badger.

“My parents had a huge impact (on me),” Jackie, who will graduate next year with a bachelor’s degree in zoology next year, said. “They raised me on Wisconsin sports and turned me into a huge Badger fan growing up. My parents always encouraged me and pushed me to work hard on my dancing, so I could make the team here.”

Life on the UW Spirit Squad

While to outsiders, the story of four sisters who all attended Wisconsin and joined the UW Spirit Squad may seem unique and interesting, to the four sisters, their “story” isn’t so much a “story,” but is the only life they have ever known.

The Jaucian sisters have nearly been a part of every significant wrestling, football and/or basketball achievement at Wisconsin over the last 20 years. And while each sister lists “lifelong friendships” as the best part of their UW Spirit Squad experience, it was not a challenge for them to recall a favorite sporting event memory at Wisconsin. The challenge proved to be just picking one.

Jaimee’s favorite memory as a cheerleader took place early in her career at the UW’s final football game of the season in 1999, her freshman year at Wisconsin.

“It was a night game against Iowa and Ron Dayne broke the rushing record, which led to him winning the HeismanTrophy,” she remembered. “Some guy streaked the field and I never felt more excited to lead thousands of screaming fans! We went on to win the Rose Bowl, and even got to dance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

And then there was the 2003 UDA Nationals in Orlando, Fla., her senior year, where after months of preparing a jazz routine to a Prince mix, the UW Dance Team placed second, their highest-ever finish at that time.

“I’ll never forget the rush I felt dancing on that floor with 13 other amazing dancers and close friends, feeding off of everyone’s energy, giving it my all and feeling like ‘we did it,’” she added. “To this day, when random people find out I was in that Prince dance, they say, ‘I saw that dance on ESPN and loved it!’ It’s rewarding to know that what you’ve done and have accomplished, has also impacted someone else out there. People look up to you and are inspired by you, and you don’t even realize it.”

Josette, who is now in her eighth year as Sprit Squad Director at the UW, best remembers the 1994 Rose Bowl when she was a cheerleader.

“The Badgers hadn’t been very successful and were just starting to get better and better every year,” she said. “Just to be a part of that and all the excitement … the whole state of Wisconsin was excited to go to the Rose Bowl. That was definitely the highlight of my cheering career. In my position now as director, it has been exciting to see both football and basketball become so successful, and to be nationally ranked and recognized.”

A Family Tradition

Although it was not deliberate, the Jaucian sisters have created their very own family tradition. A family who at one time hadn’t paid any attention to Badger athletics, quickly became immersed in the Wisconsin Badger culture.

By the time Jennifer completed her stint with the wrestling cheerleading squad after three years and Josette finished her four years of football and basketball cheerleading, parents Joe and Rose were dedicated Badger fans, as were Jaimee and Jackie. Joe, in fact, could be designated “Biggest Fan” in the family, as he now tracks Badger chat rooms conversations, follows Badger blogs, discusses incoming recruits and knows everything in between.

“I remember my first year cheerleading in 1993-94,” Josette said. “My older sister was done and in medical school here, and the youngest two became Badger fans because of us. They knew all the players, would come to all my games and would stand outside the McClain Center trying to get autographs (from the players).”

The six of them were hooked, and still are. Despite their UW Spirit Squad days coming to a close (Jackie’s last performance was on March 5 at the men’s basketball game vs. Penn State), the four sisters will remain loyal Badger fans for life and look forward to passing on their Badger pride to their growing family.

A practicing OB/GYN physician in Seattle, Jennifer is married to Gregg and together they have three-year-old Aidan (who already knows Bucky and shouts ‘Go Badgers’) and seven-month-old Kaila. Josette’s husband Derek (a former UW swimmer) proposed at a football game in 1996 using the UW cheerleaders to spell out “Josette, Will You Marry Me?” with their signs. Together they have three-year-old twin girls, Natalie and Madelyn, and are expecting another girl in the fall. Jaimee recently got engaged to fiancé, Jude.

“I think we have all definitely developed a love for Badger athletics and enjoy games and the whole atmosphere,” Josette said. “Even though no one will be actively participating in the game anymore besides me with my job, they will all still want to come to games and be a part of it.”

The Jaucian family even has personalized bricks outside the Shell near Camp Randall Stadium, as Jackie says, “to imprint our legacy” at Wisconsin. Ultimately, though, the bond among four sisters and their family is something that can’t be physically represented.

“The stories and memories that we share (are the best part of this tradition),” Jaimee said. “Not only are we sisters, but we all went through the UW Spirit Squad, so we’ll always be connected through a common love for performing. Even though we are all spread out in age, we can recall the same events and venues that we cheered/danced at, the times we polkaed with Bucky and how the spirit squad has evolved.”

“The best part is that the four of us share something special that other people don’t quite understand,” added Jackie. “All four of us know that feeling of what it’s like to cheer on the Badgers in front of the greatest college sports fans in the nation!”

Erin Starck

UST Dance Team Auditions Start Monday, April 7


All sessions will be held in the third-floor gymnasium of O'Shaughnessy Hall athletic building, which is located next to the stadium at the corner of Summit and Cretin avenues on the St. Paul campus. Arrive early and in appropriate dance attire.

Audition Schedule

6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday, April 7
6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 9 (first round cuts)
6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, April 11
Interviews will be held at a time to be determined Saturday, April 12
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday, April 13 (final audition)
General requirements

Candidates must bring these items to the first day of auditions:

Individual photo – a current head shot or full body shot; can be dance-related or a photo of you in street clothes
Dance résumé – list your dance history and accomplishments
Candidates will be evaluated on a high level of overall flexibility, extension, control and body awareness. Along with individually performed skills, each candidate will be required to execute three across-the-floor combinations learned at auditions.

Routines will be taught on audition days one and two, Monday and Wednesday, April 7 and 9. Each routine is approximately one minute in length. Candidates will perform in small and large groups and will be evaluated on conformity to style, attention to detail, ability to quickly learn material, performance and overall execution.