Team Dances Back into Action
Dom Dellos, Reporter
October 26, 2012
Filed under Sports
The dance team is preparing for another season of entertaining crowds in spite of the uncertainty surrounding the team’s organization last year.
The team was ready to kick off their season during halftime of the home football game on Saturday, October 27th when the Cougars battled FDU-Florham at 1 p.m.
Following the resignation of advisor Janelle Nemetz, the dancers were in need of someone to step in – and Darcy Brodmerkel did just that.
Upon accepting her new role as advisor Director of Student Activities Brodmerkl brought up the idea of dancing for MU’s newest sport.
“We needed to find a new advisor and almost didn’t have a dance team,” senior captain Chelsey Converse said. “[The four captains] would have had to do everything ourselves, and in our senior year that’s a big commitment. Thankfully Darcy stepped in and everything came together.”
Once it was assured that there will be a dance team, tryout information was released and turnout was overwhelming, according to senior captain Cat Steinhoff, who said about 30 girls showed up.
“It happened really fast,” Steinhoff said. “We had a ton of girls and they were all really enthusiastic. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep everybody, there just isn’t enough space.”
This year’s team consists of 18 girls which is a big difference compared to last year’s 12.
The opportunity to dance at the football game is not only a chance for the team to receive more recognition, but it’s a chance for the girls to solidify the team as a key contributor on campus, according to Converse.
“It’s showing a lot of school spirit by supporting our new football team,” Converse said. “We are more than just dance; we’re here to support the teams.”
Those who remember the past halftime performances at basketball games can expect to see a new twist from the dancers, who now sport outfits styled to parallel with the football theme at Manglesdorf Field.
“The dance we’re doing for the football game is to Shake Sonora by Pitbull. It’s got more of a sultry, sexier edge to it,” said senior captain Becca Fagnano. “Our dance at the basketball games is more of a rock mix, so we bring two different elements.”
Picking the right music and getting the crowd involved is always a priority when putting a routine together, Converse said.
“We always make sure we have music people are going to get into,” Converse said. “That’s why we usually have mixes where the songs change so people stay into it.”
The right tunes also contribute to the quality of the team’s performance on the court or field according to Fagnano,
“You have to be able to feel it,” she said. “You’ve got to have rhythm and you have to be able to move to it and put your emotion into it.”
Nemetz agreed to return to help choreograph the dances this year with encouragement from the rest of the team who have grown accustomed to her teaching and routine style.
The dancers practice once a week and have seen great strides in their learning under Nemetz according to senior captain Maria LoBrutto.
“Everybody is so excited and the freshmen are going one-hundred percent,” LoBrutto said. “We had the routine taught in less than two practices, everybody picked it up and it’s coming along really well.”
A focus on detail and perfection is not as prominent as it was in the past since it has been decided that the team won’t travel to competition this year according to Fagnano.
“Dance team isn’t all about being perfect; it’s a place to go to relieve stress and I think that shows when we’re performing,” Fagnano said. “People get so into it because it’s more fun. You don’t have to think about it, you just do it.”
As the dance team continues to pursue “team status” on campus, its current club status makes it difficult to get funding that allows it to compete because competitions can carry high entrance fees. According to Steinhoff said that doesn’t change the team’s new public recognition.
Steinhoff believes it is important for the dance team to build a future.
“Our dance team is still fairly new, and I didn’t want it to die yet,” Steinhoff said. “I felt like if we didn’t have it this year then they wouldn’t have it next year, and everything we started and worked for would be gone. It’s about sharing that with other people and showing them what we can do.”
The dance team looks to the returning members to keep the tradition alive with six seniors on the team, including all four captains.
“I hope these girls understand how important it is, and they feel the same determination,” Fagnano said. “I think we’ve come so far with the limited resources that we have. We may not officially be a team but we look like one and we act like one.”
The dance team looks to make steps in the right direction by performing in front of their largest crowd on campus at Saturday’s football game.
“I want them to come and appreciate what we do for them,” Fagnano said of the student body. “We take the time to put together routines and we want to be able to perform for you. We want people to know we’re here.”