College Dance Team Central

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Marshall Dance Team Doin' It For Themselves

MU dance team raising money for competition
By Kristen Footo
Photo Media Credit: Carrie Kirk
The Parthenon Online

They spend 12 to 15 hours practicing each week, attend mandatory 6 a.m. workout sessions and have been gearing up for an April competition since July 2008.

The 12 women who make up the Marshall University dance team say they are no joke, and they are preparing for their biggest performance yet. They only have one problem - money. The dance team does not receive any financial support from Marshall.

With this in mind, the dance team will resort to personally raising money for the competition. Although many clubs and organizations are involved in fundraising on campus, not many have a goal this large. It will cost about $1,000 per team member to compete in the NDA National Collegiate Dance Championship. Twelve thousand dollars will cover the cost of costumes, a choreographer, travelling and competition fees.

Raising $12,000 for 12 dance team members puts them in a tough spot, but Jo Tippett, senior team captain, said they are making progress.

"We sent out letters practically begging local businesses and family members and friends from our hometowns to help us out with this endeavor," Tippett said. "We are pretty close to our goal."

With the end in sight and the competition date nearing, the girls are planning to put together bake sales throughout the semester to help with fundraising. They will also hold their third annual "Win a Date with the Dance Team" raffle. Tickets for the raffle can be bought for $1 from any member of the Marshall dance team at events where they appear.

Once all the funds have been collected, they will be used to pay the fees associated with the competition. One fee is for the choreographer, who is from the Retter Academy in California and has choreographed previous title holders.

Other funds will be used for travel expenses to Daytona Beach, Fla., where the competition will be held. The team will compete against hundreds of other college dance teams divided into four divisions.

The team has practiced 10 to 15 per week in preparation for the competition. That is on top of their regular performances at football and basketball games.

"We never ignore our spot on the basketball court or football field. We take great pride in the name we have given this dance team and only hope for us to receive more recognition as the years go on," Tippett said. "We have a lot of fun preparing for the competition, but with all the extra time it possesses, it is tough to make it through long school days and work hours."

As if the competition were not enough to look forward to in April, the dance team will also be holding tryouts the weekend after the competition. There are some high levels of technique required to be considered for a spot on the team, and there a lot of extra workouts in the future for each new member. Anyone interested in trying out can get more information at www.marshall.edu/band.

The NDA National Collegiate Dance Championship will be April 8 through April 12.

"I believe this team has overcome intense obstacles, and we are almost 100 percent ready to represent Marshall University on a national level," Tippett said.

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