Dance Team finds passion in performing

Halftime at University of Detroit Mercy sporting events is usually a signal for people to leave their seats to fill their bellies, and that means many miss one of the most talented teams at UDM.

The Dance Team is well aware that few pay attention to them, but it doesn’t stop them from giving their all every time they perform.

For these women, dance isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion.

Most, if not all, of the team members have been dancing since they were little.  Although some started dancing just because their parents put them in it or a family member owned a dance studio, they said they’re happy that the sport found them.

Every time they perform they get a thrill like no other. Junior Nicole Rago, 20, said that the feeling she gets every time she performs is a rush of excitement and adrenaline.

While dance may give them joy now, their relationship with dance wasn’t always a smooth ride.

Some members said there was a time they wanted to give up their passion.

Haleigh Ethridge, 21, said everyone wants to quit at some point.

 “I think that also kind of goes for any sport where you have that moment where you’re wondering ‘Is it worth it?’ and most of the time it usually is,” she said.

While most only had the thought of quitting, senior Makenzie Maniaz actually quit for a year or two. The tiny break from the sport was no big thing to worry about, as Maniaz returned and is currently on the dance team.

Before they got deep into dancing, the dancers agreed it would have been nice if someone had told them how expensive pursuing the sport would be.

The advice they would give to little kids pursuing dance today is to keep going.

 Katelyn Montrose, 21, said that persistence is the definitely the key.  Although Montrose is currently sitting on the sidelines due to an injury, she still participates in practicing routines. No matter what obstacles may stand in these ladies’ way they make it a priority to get through it.

A lot of the members of the team balance dance in addition to attending classes and working.

 “People think that just because we’re dancers that we are stupid…In actuality we all made the honor roll last year,” Junior Samantha Torres said.

 Having to balance so much has forced them to learn time management.

At a recent Monday night rehearsal, the team was cracking jokes non-stop.

 And that relationship also echoes into how the team interacts with their new coach, Samantha Sant.

Sant may have the title of authority, but the environment created is a community where everyone is able to give suggestions and express their thoughts.  The dance team may crack jokes and talk gossip like any close-knit group, however when it is time to rehearse, everyone has their game face on. There isn’t one person not giving 100 percent. As a collective they have a great bond. And this is all evident in their performances.

They have many routines that are predominantly jazz and pop that go to songs like “Latch” by Sam Smith, “Confident” by Demi Lovato, “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor, among others.  They’ll be adding a little hip hop to routines this year as an effort to mix things up a little bit.  

It might be good to stay seated during the next halftime show at Detroit Mercy basketball games.