Dance Teams Ready For Some Football
Ames, Iowa- With first and second-place finishes in the state dance team competition, and a fifth place at the National Dance Alliance (NDA) Championship competition in Daytona Beach, Fla. this past April, expectations are high for any dancer on the 2012-2013 Iowa State Dance Team.
The Iowa State Dance Team is comprised of two squads, the Cardinal and the Gold. The units practice together at the same time and in the same place; three times a week for two and half hours. On non-practice days the dancers have mandatory one hour workouts twice a week.
Each squad performs equally at all home football and men and women’s basketball games as well as competing at the state dance competition in Des Moines.
The gold squad will travel and perform at away football games and compete at the national competition. The cardinal squad will travel and perform with the basketball teams at the Big 12 Conference and NCAA tournaments.
The dance team season starts with a tryout before summer at the end of the previous school year.
“It’s stressful because the team gets back from nationals only a few weeks before tryouts for the next season,” said former dancer and Iowa State graduate Leah Ryan. “Everyone is ready for a break, so preparing for tryouts is difficult. Our coach stresses every year that ‘no one’s spot is secure’ at tryouts. Even after three years on the team I knew I had to push myself. It’s scary.”
The tryouts consist of a clinic on Saturday and a tryout in front of judges on Sunday morning. At the clinic on Saturday dancers practice various technical skills to use during their tryouts on Sunday. The dancers also learn brief routines in the styles of pom (the fight song dance), hip hop, and jazz for Sunday.
For Head Dance Team Coach Jill Petersen and Assistant Coach Sarah Miller tryouts are an enjoyable time of the year.
“The process is exciting for us” Petersen said, “We get to see new girls come in with excitement and desire to be part of something we really enjoy. There is a lot of prep work to take place ahead of time but we love being able to just watch and take it all in, really focusing on individuals that catch our eye. We then see how they progress throughout the weekend.”
For former dancer and Iowa State graduate Tora Crist tryouts were also an exciting time.
“The best part about tryouts, especially as a senior is seeing all of the future talent” Crist said. “As a senior, the team meant everything to me and knowing that it will continue to grow with talented and beautiful girls is definitely a good feeling.”
Petersen and Miller had set goals for this year’s team going into tryouts.
“The expectations this year are for us to continue to grow with talented and strong dancers, who are good quality girls” said Petersen. “Being on the ISU Dance Team means more than just being a great dancer. Sarah and I are wanting girls with good character, are willing to work hard, and who will represent the University in a positive way at every game, appearance, travel situation, classroom and even in everyday normal situations. This year we want the ISU Dance Team to continue to be a class act, the strongest dance team in the state and continue to work to maintain a Top five finish nationally.”
With these goals in mind a new season with a new team already began in the summer before the school year started. The team meets for two workshops (one, two days long and the other a daylong event before camp) to learn material performed at every home football and basketball game.
Dancers are also expected to learn material from home over the summer on their own so that once the school year practices start; polishing can be done on the routines in order to perform them at the first home football game.
“The excitement is in the air and we want the ISU Dance Team to be 100 percent fully prepared” Petersen said.
The team competed at a dance camp over the summer where the performed opposite other college and university dance teams. The camp took place Aug. 6-8 at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. Iowa State placed first and third in team performance as well as receiving awards for Most Collegiate Program, Gameday Superior in Hip-Hop and Gameday Excellence in Pom.
Petersen shared her excitement going into the first practice with such accomplishments.
“We are ready to start and proud of the success we have had so far in just a short period of time,” Petersen said.