Dance, Cheer Groups Start Up

Katie Petersen

During the early weeks of September, each of the university’s four outstanding groups held an intense set of tryouts and auditions in order to determine the new rosters for the semester ahead.
The Quinnipiac cheerleading squad began their recruitment process on Friday, Sept. 5, with about fifty potential members arriving to try out. From this a team of thirty-two cheerleaders was formed, lead by Alicia Chouinard and Stephanie Colella, the chosen captains for the ’08-’09 school year. The Quinnipiac Cheerleading Squad performs annually at numerous events, including campus sporting events, Midnight Madness and the National Cheerleading Competition in Daytona Beach, Fla. For the past few years, the team has gained recognition in the national cheerleading circuit, as well as placed in the national top ten. MaryAnn Powers, a long time coach of QU Cheerleading, is hoping to step up their performance even more this year when the team attends Nationals in April.
Powers is very excited about the potential in this year’s team, and commented on how much more competitive tryouts were this year than they have been in the past. She believes that the publicity the team has received due to their placing at Nationals caught the attention of new and fresh talent. Members of the cheerleading squad are required to try out annually, even if they have been on the team in the past. Not having a guaranteed spot ensures that everyone gets a fair chance to make the team. Powers believes the team’s recent successes are due to their “100% positive performance on the mat” and the fantastic work ethic she has seen in the girls on the team. As a word of advice to new members of the team, Powers suggests managing your time well, putting academics first, treating teammates and others with respect and working hard at what you want to achieve.
Quinnipiac’s resident hip-hop dance team, Dance Fusion, held auditions on Sunday, Sept. 7. A regular performer at Midnight Madness, basketball games and Apollo Night, the team attracted fifty-nine hopeful dancers at their auditions. The five captains, Amanda Sullivan, Xantiana Abio, Stephanie David, Kristine Giusti and Amanda Preble, were looking for people with energy, dedication and the ability to learn routines quickly during the audition process. In the end, they accepted six new girls as well as eleven past members to form this year’s team of twenty full-time, and two part-time dancers. The new members are excited about the semester ahead as part of the Dance Fusion team. Christal Perez, a freshman Health Sciences major, danced for three years in her high school and was interested in Dance Fusion simply because she loves to dance.
“I was not nervous at all when I was getting ready,” Perez said. “When I got there and realized how serious they are about their dancing, I got a lot more nervous.”
Perez was sure she would not make it through the cuts and was shocked to have been accepted onto the team. She hopes to become a stronger dancer through her experience with Dance Fusion.
Dance Fusion is an entirely student- run group with three mandatory practices as well as one extra practice each week. They have competed against dance teams at other universities such as University of New Haven, UCONN, Yale, Southern and several others. The members all feel that they have a strong team that will allow them to expand their horizons and branch out to new competitions.
“We’re like a family here,” Abio said, “We’re just that close.”
The Quinnipiac Dance Company is a dance group that includes jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, and hip hop in their wide array of dance styles. The company held auditions on Sunday, Sept. 7, welcoming about forty prospective dancers to try out. After several rounds of cuts, six new dancers were added to the dance company roster. These dancers can be seen at performances throughout the year, including several basketball games, Midnight Madness, Parents’ Weekend, Mr. Quinnipiac and company recitals at the end of each semester. The Dance Company is a student run organization with two faculty advisors, Debbie Greenblatt and Al Carbone. All of the dances performed by the team are choreographed in a joint effort among all members of the team. Jessica Pacheco, a senior Occupational Therapy major and President of the Dance Co., is very excited about the upcoming year. She really wants to heighten the standard of the company, as well as become better known to the public. The Dance Company has also taken part in community service activities such as Relay for Life, and has raised money for Breast Cancer Awareness and The Make a Wish Foundation. The members of the team put a lot of time and dedication into perfecting their dancing skills so they can look their best when they are out in front of an audience. Pacheco encourages everyone to come out and support the performers every chance they get.