Is it art? Is it a sport? Lawrence University Dance Team answers “Yes!” to both questions. Bringing together two previously disparate categories, the Dance Team gracefully straddles the line between athleticism and artistry, all while supporting Lawrence athletic teams.
Lawrence University Dance Team (LUDT) made their season debut at the football home game on September 23rd. At halftime, the team performed to an upbeat mashup of Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, mixed by junior and LUDT co-captain Elsie Tenpas. Tenpas also choreographed the halftime performance. “We had a very successful performance with the returning members of our 2016-2017 team,” says Tenpas. “We love that we are able to show our passion while supporting Lawrence athletics.”
Attentive fans may have noticed a few changes to the Dance Team’s wardrobe at the halftime performance. The team unveiled a new, streamlined look with the addition of white mocknecks under their uniform tops. The long-sleeve tops are a staple among professional dance teams. In addition to looking professional, the shirts will also serve to keep the dancers warm as temperatures continue to drop. The dancers lit up the field with new white socks and sneakers, a departure from last year’s black dance shoes. With these new pieces, Dance Team shone in Lawrence’s signature white and blue under the Banta Bowl lights.
Members of the Dance Team come from all different dance backgrounds, from classically trained ballerinas, musical theatre performers and everything in between. As a part of LUDT, dancers are able to showcase their individual talents while working together as a team. Dance may seem like an individual endeavor, but a dance team must work together as much as any other sports team. In addition to supporting one another, the dancers also support the LU athletic teams by performing and cheering at football and basketball games.
The agile movements showcased during a dance performance might look easy, but do not be fooled; behind the high kicks and synced movements are hours and hours of practice. Each movement in a dance requires meticulous attention to detail. Much like any other sports team, LUDT members condition, train, and team-build to work as a cohesive unit. Yet strength alone is not enough for a dancer to be successful— artistry and emotion are necessary to elevate dance from a sport to an art form.
Alumni and students alike always enjoy LUDT’s spirited performances. In addition to performing at football games, the Dance Team also performs at basketball games in the winter, as well as in the Spring Dance Show. The next Dance Team performance will take place at this Saturday’s home football game, where the team will unveil a new dance routine as well as several new dancers. Co-captain Elsie confirms, “This next performance will feature three new members who joined LUDT this fall. They have been a lovely addition to our team, and we can’t wait to showcase the new team this Saturday at 1 p.m..” Be sure to come out to the Banta Bowl on Saturday to support the Dance Team!