College Dance Team Central

Friday, June 18, 2010

Feature: West Virginia Dancer Ariel Fink

Beckley native on WVU team that won national competition
By Andrea Lannom
The Register Herald

BECKLEY — Dancing has been a lifelong passion for Beckley native Ariel Fink, and just recently, she got the opportunity to go with her team from West Virginia University to a national dance competition. Not only was this opportunity great, but the fact that her team won was a dream come true.

The National Dance Alliance Collegian Dance Competition took place in Daytona Beach and had around 255 national and select international schools participating. Ariel’s team competed in the open division, which is a bit different from normal competitions, Fink said. With the open division, the team decides what songs they’re going to use and what style of dance they’re going to do. The song they chose was “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot.

“It was very different,” she said. “With the nature of the open division dancing, you really had to dance from the heart. You had to be different and really feel the music deep inside.”

Dancing and music have always been something to which Fink has an emotional attachment. She started dancing at an early age and said she even remembers how she felt when watching her first performance.

“When I was really little, my mom took me to see ‘The Nutcracker’ and the entire time I just sat still watching,” Fink said. “I was so mesmerized by the performance, even then.”

With all of her years of dancing from beginnings at the Beckley Dance Theatre School to joining the dance team at Woodrow Wilson High School, practice was something she became accustomed to. This competition was no exception. Fink had to go through strict dancing regimens and even skip out on spring break.

“We had a pretty steady regimen and we practiced quite a bit through the week, even through spring break,” she said. “While everyone was at the beach, we were working on perfecting our regimen. It was worth it, though, because it really gave us that competitive edge.”

The team also had to raise at least $17,000 to compete. Because the dance team is not funded, many of the people on the team have to raise their own money and even buy things like uniforms out of pocket.

“Our team was part of the athletics division at one time but not anymore,” she said. “Right now, we don’t receive any funding, but we’re working on becoming a club.”

Even with fundraising and practice, she managed to take on a 21-hour class workload and has been able to make the dean’s list every semester, she said.

“It’s exhausting to try to balance everything, but it’s worth it,” she said. “I always like to have a lot of things to do, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Even with her dedication and practice, she says she still felt a little nervous when she first stepped on the stage. Yet this feeling was fleeting.

“There’s always that feeling before you step out on the stage where you feel a tinge of nervousness, yet that goes away when you start dancing,” she said. “Eventually you just give it all you’ve got and you feel a calmness sweep over you.”

She plans to continue her passion of dancing even after school by looking into professional dance teams. First, however, she wants to get her doctorate in audiology.

“One of my big dreams is to be on a professional team some day, maybe for the NFL or something,” she said. “Hopefully when I go to school to get my doctorate, I will find an opportunity to find a professional dance team.”

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