By Meg Beerling
The Saint Mary’s University Dance Team is working hard preparing for performances and competitions, and this year has the most members it has had in the history of the club, according to senior co-captain Abby Ayotte.
The combination performance and competition dance team has 18 dancers this season, according to Ayotte. She speculates the high numbers could be due to the recent addition of the dance minor at SMU. According to Ayotte, she will be the second person from SMU to graduate with a dance minor.
Regardless of the reasons for joining, dance team members are pleased at the number of participants this season. The dancers consist of a wide range of skill levels, from years of experience to very minimal, according to Ayotte.
Although these girls are a team, dance is a club sport and the team does not make cuts. Also because the team is a club sport, the captains act as the coaches. Ayotte said that this can be challenging to play both the role of a peer and a leader, but she enjoys doing it.
The team works hard, and has won trophies in the past, according to Ayotte. However, most team members join for their love of dancing.
“I love the group of girls we have this year,” said junior co-captain Allison Johnson. “We work hard and still have a lot of fun, in and out of practice,” said Johnson. “I am excited for our upcoming season; we have high expectations this year, and I think we are well on our way to achieving them,” she said.
The performance team and competition team used to be two separate groups, but they have since merged into one, according to Ayotte. This can be difficult with the varying degrees of skill levels, she said. Another challenge for the team, according to Johnson, is space. With so many girls, it is hard to fit them all into the small dance studio, she said.
“There are a lot of girls at this school who are interested in dance, which is awesome; I wish we had a bigger space to fit them all,” said Johnson.
For non-competitive performances, the team dances at soccer games, basketball games and performs an annual guy-girl dance, according to Ayotte. The team also dances in competitions against teams from Blaine, the College of Saint Benedict and the University of Saint Thomas.
Anyone who is interested at all in dancing is encouraged to join the team at the beginning of the year, said Ayotte. The first competition of the season is at the College of Saint Benedict on Nov. 21.