QU Kickline team kicks into high gear

David Matos, Arts & Life Editor

Photo by John Hassett/Contributed by Kickline

Quinnipiac University Kickline team captain Jessica Boesenberg, a junior 4+1 interdisciplinary studies major in the master of arts in teaching program started her first year when COVID-19 was in full swing, making it difficult to build a connection with students less than six feet apart. However, it was Quinnipiac’s Kickline team that made the university “feel like home” for Boesenberg despite how isolating that year was for her.

“I was able to have friends and (do) something outside of my dorm because it was really all we could do,” Boesenberg said.

The Kickline team is a dance organization that is reminiscent of the Radio City Rockettes. However, instead of decking the halls, the group of 25 to 30 women radiates the People’s United Center with school spirit through their exactitude of 45-seconds to two-minute-long, high-kicking skill routines and closing signature jump split. Students can customarily find the Kickline team at Quinnipiac’s basketball games and school-sponsored events.

“We all grew up dancing competitively, or just at a dance studio, and we all want to find a way to continue dancing in college without so much stress,” said Kickline captain Lauren Scoopo, a senior graphic and interactive design and advertising and integrated communications double major. “It’s just like a stress reliever. You make so many friends, and it’s just like a fun thing to look forward to in your week.”

Jillian Catalano, a junior 3+1 public relations major and Kickline captain, started dancing when she was three years old performing for the first time at a local dance studio. However, it wasn’t until she witnessed her older sister trying out for her middle school Kickline team that she began to have an interest in the sport herself.

Catalano’s passion for dance developed into devotion to kickline, staying with the sport through high school. However, she said it was “very intense and very competitive,” and Catalano yearned to utilize her dance skills to hype up the crowds on the court and not to compete, leading her to pursue kickline further at Quinnipiac.

“Kickline is something that’s very specific that not a lot of universities have,” Catalano said. “And when I saw that Quinnipiac had it, I definitely wanted to continue my love for it, but also,  just have fun with it … I wanted something that was related to school spirit, and that was exactly what the team embodied.”

The Kickline team is completely student-run, meaning that every kick, turn or twirl you see on the game floor was choreographed by a passionate team of women equipped with matching yellow and blue uniforms.

Boesenberg said that her favorite memory with Kickline is the preparation involved and hours spent coordinating seamless performances in time for the season in November. Nonetheless, after practicing every week, Catalano said the payoff on the center stage and performing with people you consider family is all the
more rewarding.

“We do take it seriously and we do put forth our best work not even (just) when we’re practicing, but on game days as well … there’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s definitely worth it,” Catalano said.

Though the club sport looks effortless from the stands, the precise synchronization amongst the group of dancers is also no easy feat.

“You definitely have to rely on each other,” Boesenberg said. “Like stamina-wise to be able to kick for that long in a line, it definitely took a while to build up the endurance and stamina to be able to keep kicking, and it’s a lot more difficult than it looks.”

We’ve seen it time and time again in movies where a cheerleader is one step behind the rest of the group, causing the whole pyramid to come crashing down. In kickline, any misstep is eye-catching due to how synchronized every movement is.

“Kick is very dependent on your timing, and how precise you are with your movement because we’re all dancing as a team in one big line,” Scoopo said. “If one person’s the tiniest bit off, it’s very easy to tell …  if the person next to you, or I’m falling behind a little bit, it affects the whole thing.”

Scoopo said that sometimes performing in front of screaming crowds can also be a    tense ordeal. Nonetheless, she described pre-performance nerves as a “team bonding experience” making the unit feel less like comrades but rather a “big family.”

“We all just have fun on the sidelines and then, when we do perform, we all stand under the tunnel waiting to go out onto the court, and we’re all nervous just going over altogether,” Scoopo said. “And then, once we’re performing, and the crowd gets hyped up,  you just feel very happy. And then once we run off we’re like ‘Oh, my God, that was so cool! We can’t wait to do it again.’”

The overwhelming Bobcat pride from Quinnipiac sports fanatics decked out in university merchandise is exemplified through their loud cheers and applause during game days. Catalano said the feedback from the crowd on game day is exhilarating.

“There’s definitely an adrenaline rush for me,” Catalano said. “It’s always when we get to that point where we’re all in one line at the same time, I get like the biggest adrenaline rush, it’s very exciting.”

Every year the Kickline team constructs a new team of zealous dancers who express interest in being a part of the spirited unit of women. This year’s tryouts ran for two days, beginning on Sept. 12, and coming to a close the following day.

On the first day, the group of interested

dancers learned two different dances, jazz and kick. The next day is when the women got to really show off their unique set of skills, whether it’s dips, splits or twirls, it was the final moment to wow the captains and parade what you bring to the table. The trial concluded after the girls demonstrated the two dance routines they studied the day before.

This year Boesenberg is particularly excited for game days due to the sheer amount of talent that was displayed at tryouts along with the mask optional policy at games that was enforced for the first since the start of the pandemic.

“I’m really excited to see what we could do with our dances because we had a lot of great girls try out this year,” Boesenberg said. “Just in general, we haven’t been performing even without a mask, so it’ll be nice to just be able to perform in front of an audience like them see our faces, too. So I’m just really excited for that aspect.”

The dominant passion from the girls at Kickline bleeds onto the dance floor when they perform for crowds of students, supportive parents and faculty. Kickline continues to show what authentic Quinnipiac pride is one kick at a time.