By DEANNA BIONDI
UMW’S dance team is an entirely student-run group. Limited faculty support can make planning difficult, but that doesn’t stop the team from organizing their own events on top of choreographing routines and attending rehearsals.
Earlier this month, UMW’s dance team hosted a Kid’s Dance Camp, organized by co-captains Jenna Holland and Shannon Worley. They got the message out to families by emailing local dance studios and elementary schools and asking them to spread the word to students and parents about the camp. It was held on Feb. 8 and 9 and included games, crafts and food on both days. They were taught basic techniques of dancing as well as a dance routine, which the kids joined the dance team to perform during halftime at the men’s basketball game on Feb. 9.
Worley, a senior majoring in business administration, discussed the difficulties behind organizing an event for the first time. “The events we’ve done before, like basketball games and homecoming, it’s been done before so it’s easy to just follow the routine,” she said. “The Kid’s Camp has never been done before, so it was kind of difficult because we didn’t know who to talk to or who to email[…]it was difficult at first, but we managed to get it done.”
“We learned a lot about dance team when we started doing the kid’s camp, like figuring out all the stuff we needed to do through the school,” Holland, a sophomore majoring in psychology, added.
As Worley will be graduating this semester, Holland hopes to continue the Kid’s Camp in the future given this positive first experience. Despite experiencing difficulties in the planning process and scheduling issues, the Kid’s Camp was a success, with twelve children total in attendance. A good turnout for a first-time event.
“We got really good feedback from the parents. They were like ‘Oh my god, they [the kids] never wanted it to end, they want to do it next year, it’s never been done before,’ so I think the community is really interested in it happening again,” Worley said. The camp would be held either once a year, or once every semester if possible.
Members of the dance team keep busy, as many of them are also part of the Performing Arts Company. Hina Zafar, a senior majoring in psychology, discussed the differences between being a part of PAC and the dance team.
“The Performing Arts Company is a lot bigger than dance team, I think we have about 80 members. We have a variety of styles of dance that we do, and we perform twice a semester with a small show and a big show. And then dance team is more of a team thing where we all perform at homecoming, soccer games, basketball games and a few performances we have. Sometimes with PAC, too, we perform at the same shows.” PAC is an all-inclusive organization, while the dance team requires tryouts.
Emily Kaser, a senior majoring in communications and digital studies, chimed in with the typical schedule of being part of both PAC and dance team.
“For PAC we usually have Sunday rehearsals because that’s when PAC gets the studio space, and dance team has practice Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and then Friday for two hours. For PAC the hours depend on how many dances you’re a part of.”
The team performs a new routine for each half-time show of home games
“Sometimes PAC rehearsals will overlap with home games, so the dance team can’t perform during halftime on those days,” Zafar added. “But we try to do as many home games as we can.”