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UWRF dance team prepares for nationals

February 28, 2008

The UW-River Falls women’s dance team is preparing for a trip to nationals in March, but the road to get there has not been easy.

The season started for the team back in September and won’t be over until the nationals trip concludes.

“[One of the] most challenging things would be the lack of practice space we have,” sophomore captain Beth Johnson said. “We practice in the aerobics room and it’s hard to dodge the huge pillars in the middle of the room.”

However, recognition on campus is another problem the team faces, junior captain Staci Heintz said.

Heintz said that people on campus don’t realize how much work goes into being a member of the dance team.

Although the women face challenges on a daily basis, whether it’s learning a new dance or getting people to respect what they do, being a member of the team is something the members really enjoy.
“The most rewarding part of being a member of the UWRF Dance Team would.

have to be the relationships that are built within our team,” Heintz said. “Each and every one of the girls on the team are amazing, and I don’t know what I would do without them. There seems to be an unexplainable bond that forms every year, and we are all committed to working as a team.”

The nationals competition will be held March 29 at the University of Northern Texas in Denton, Texas.

Normally, the team has to participate in a competition to qualify for nationals in the first place. However, this year is different.

This year, they found the competition in Texas that allows them to compete without qualifying.

UWRF alumna Alison Svenden is a volunteer coach for the team this year and has a number of different tasks she helps to accomplish for the team.

“I help the captains with running the practices each week,” she said. “I get the team set up to dance at football and basketball games along with registering them for competitions throughout the season. My job also entails working with the captains in organizing all the behind—the—scenes paperwork.”

The team practices about eight hours a week, and captains and coaches spend extra time putting together routines for the team to perform.

Svenden said she doesn’t choreograph much of the routines, but is always available to help if she’s needed.

“All of our routines are choreographed by members of our team,” Heintz said. “This takes more time and effort than one would think. Not only do you have to create moves that go with the music, but you have to figure a dozen people are all going to move in sync with one another on the gym floor.”

This season, the team has prepared three different dances to perform over the course of the season, Johnson said.

In the fall, the team prepared a high kick dance for the football games. For basketball games, they did a dance that was more fun with a hip-hop vibe. And the competition dance is a lyrical jazz style verses funk.

The team is doing everything they can to fundraise for their trip to nationals. During Valentines Day week they sold roses in the University Center. They also had a letter writing campaign for donations. But the work they did was not only during the school year. Last summer they also worked concessions at baseball tournaments and hosted car washes.

“We do our best to raise enough money so that the girls don’t have to pay out of pocket for costuming and travel beyond their initial team fee,” Svendsen said. “This year’s flower sale made us a profit just over $600. If anyone is interested in helping out the team through donation they can contact Alison Svendsen, Staci Heintz or Beth Johnson.”