Athlete of the Week: Cassie Gitkin

Photo Courtesy of Paul Wilke

Cassie is a junior from Highland Park, IL. She is a third-year member of the Dance Team and also serves as Treasurer. Her favorite style of dance is Poms. At Lawrence, Cassie is pursuing a double major in Studio Art and English. In addition to being a member of Dance Team, she is also the Op-Ed Editor for The Lawrentian and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Shane Farrell (SF): What is dance team/what does it involve?

Cassie Gitkin (CG): Dance Team is a team of Lawrence students who practice and perform a variety of dance styles, including hip-hop, jazz, poms, lyrical and contemporary. The team itself is comprised of fourteen dancers who work hard together, but we also have a lot of fun. We support other Lawrence athletic teams by performing at their games. A lot of people think we’re cheerleaders because we use pom-poms, but Dance Team is not a cheer squad. We don’t do stunts like a cheer squad and we also don’t cheer.

SF: When is your season?

CG: Our season is the entire year. We perform at football game halftimes during the fall and basketball game halftimes during the winter. We also participate in dance shows throughout the year. Most of our spring season is spent preparing for the Spring Dance Show.

SF: How is the team looking this year?

CG: The team is looking great this year! We have a really strong team comprised of lots of Dance Team veterans, as well as several new freshmen. We also have an open Saturday morning practice once a month for anyone interested in joining the team or just seeing what it’s all about.

SF: Hardest dance move to nail?

CG: Hardest move in general, or that we do on Dance Team? On Dance Team, it’d have to be the kicklines. It takes a ton of stamina and strength to keep our energy up and our kicks high, all while staying synchronized with a dozen other dancers.

SF: How long have you been dancing/why did you decide to do it at Lawrence?

CG: I took tap, jazz, and ballet when I was younger, but I hadn’t danced for a while before joining Dance Team. It seemed like a great way to improve my dance skills and show school spirit. It ended up being the best decision I could have made. It’s now my third year on LUDT and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has become.

SF: What would you say to people that doesn’t think dance is a sport?

CG: I think most people now realize the athleticism required to be a dancer. Just like any other athletic team, we have multiple practices a week and are expected to condition individually to stay flexible and prevent injuries. Putting on a dance performance or dancing competitively is much different than just dancing for fun. It requires a ton of practice, strength, and teamwork.

SF: What is the weird food you like to eat?

CG: I don’t eat a lot of weird foods. I guess the weirdest foods I eat are probably dairy substitutes, like vegan yogurt, but they don’t seem weird to me because I’ve been eating them for so long.