College Dance Team Central

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Red Hots are National Champs

By Chris Walsh
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State University Red Hots are halfway between winning their National Championship and getting ready for their next performance, but they feel as excited as ever for the start of the new football season.

“The past few years have really taken off for them and now they’re asked to do everything,” said Kelli Fields, coach of the Red Hots dance team. “We have 19 girls on the team, seven more than last year, from all over Georgia.”

The Red Hots can be seen at every Valdosta State football and basketball game. They can also be seen all over town, at pep rallies, fundraisers, and anything else they can fit in their schedule.

“Every year there’s something else they’re asked to do,” said Fields. “They are at the Blazer Walk, Hospitality House, dancing at VSU visitation days, and holding dance camps twice a year.”

The Red Hots, who have technically been around since 1995, just finished their second year of competitive dance. And how else would a VSU team do in a National tournament, but win it all.

The dance team led the whole weekend and came out victorious over nine other teams from all over the nation to win the NDA title.

“There was moments we thought we would win, and moments we thought we wouldn’t, but it was a big relief when they called our score,” said Brittany Lord, who has been with the team for three years.

“We were up to 1 a.m. the night before practicing and then had to get up at 5 a.m., but we did it.”

Lord is one of the many girls on the team that have watched it grow from more of a club team to an actually National competitor.

“I’ve been dancing since I was three, so it’s just a part of me,” said Lord. “That’s really why I came here, nobody else in Georgia has as good of a team.”

Another veteran on the squad is Julia Hughes, who has been with the Red Hots for four years. She is also called by her teammates the biggest VSU Blazers fan around.

“I always danced in high school with teams and in a studio, so it just felt weird not to be dancing in college,” said Hughes, who was also named the team’s MVP this year.

“It’s really cool. Every year we get new girls and new strengths we can progress on.”

For all the girls on the team the story is the same, they do it for fun and because of their love of dance. They practice three days a week, for two hours each time just for the fun of it, but winning it all was nice.

“They don’t get scholarships and they don’t get paid,” said Fields. “So to be rewarded like that is validation for them putting in all the hard work and time.”

The dance team will return at the first VSU football game and they will be bringing even more to their shows this season.

“There will be new and exciting routines and new uniforms,” said Fields. “We will also have a clinic for high school and college girls thinking about trying out next year.”

To view the National Championship winning dance routines go to www.varsitywired.com.

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