By ADAM FALLUJI – STAFF WRITER
Centre students have the opportunity to pursue a number of athletic interests on campus, even if they were not recruited to play a sport. The dance team is one such association, and has taken a new shape in the past year.
Not to be confused with cheerleaders, Centre’s dancers traditionally perform at football and men’s and women’s basketball games with elaborate dance routines stemming from jazz and hip-hop influences, as well as adding sideline dances during the football games this year.
This season the dance team is under the mentorship of the Chattanooga native and former Division I collegiate dancer Diane Sneed, the wife of one of Centre’s football coaches.
Sneed has added to the dance team’s methods of technique and choreography to make them a stronger, better team. One change this year was the addition of a more strenuous preseason period before the school year, in which several days were spent learning the routines and improving technique, leading up to applicants performing their routines and skill set in tryouts to make the team.
In the past, there were no tryouts for the dance team. Instead, aspiring members spoke to the team captain to informally describe their dance background and interest. However, members agreed that raising the bar in the new process is helping them become their best this season.
Tryouts are expected to continue in the future, likely in the spring for returning members, then in the fall for incoming first-years and upperclassmen.
The dancers are also expanding their showcase by adding sideline performances along the track and implementing pom-pom dance style to their routines.
“We have pom-poms now— but we do jazz and hip hop so we’re not to be confused with cheer,” sophomore dance team member Brooklyn Madrid said. “We’ve changed up our uniforms too. dance team has changed a lot this past season to improve the quality of our team, and we intend to keep improving.”
For the first home game, the dance team performed a routine choreographed by captain Karly Vockery. The routine included popular songs like “Treasure” by Bruno Mars and “Need Your Love” by Calvin Harris.
The second halftime performance was a pom-pom routine choreographed by sophomore dance team member Natalie Tate to the song “Pom Poms” by the Jonas Brothers.
For the Homecoming halftime performance the dance team wanted to do something special. They wore sparkled letter jerseys and painted Centre Cs on their cheeks, covered with glitter. Their routine for the game was choreographed by Sneed. The routine included a variety of songs from “Shoop”
by Salt-n-Papa to “Timber” by Pitbull. The routine also included “Kentucky Women” by Sundy Best to tie in homecoming pride as a member of the band is a Centre alum.
The Homecoming routine also featured a very special member of the centre community: President Roush. He personally recorded an introduction for the routine.
The dancers also performed in the pep rally in Cowan that took place during homecoming spiritweek. While there won’t be any more football performances this season, the dance team will be performing in their new uniform tops with white sequins and gold Centre Cs during upcoming basketball games beginning in Centreterm.
The team will continue to perform several new dances through the basketball season, as well as try to coordinate with the Moments in Motion dance club, which could add Latin and contemporary dancing routines to the mix.
Performing so often demands consistent practice, so the dance team meets four times a week for roughly two hours a day. Conditioning occurs on Mon., while Tues., Wed., and Thurs. consist of working on skills and techniques. If there are upcoming performances, practices extend to five days a week.
While this season has no doubt been their busiest, the members of the team are happy to be dancing, especially with each other.
“I like being a member of the dance team because it allows me to do what I love with good friends,” Tate said. “They were my first friends on campus and they’ve always been there for me. It’s not like we just practice, we hang out together too and give each other advice and joke around.
I’ve always danced, it feels normal, and I love performing and having my classmates see me,” Tate said.
As team captain Vockery works hard to help her team move forward. With no adult coach Vockery leads the team, but also makes sure not to let her team member’s voices go unheard on big decisions.
“Being the captain is important to me,” Vockery said. “I have a lot of tough classes this year, but dance gives me a break from my work and lets me express my talents. And I really enjoy that. It’s just something I love to do.”
All the dance team members are looking forward to performing at basketball game halftimes, beginning in Centreterm.