There are plenty of tricks, turns and moves being practiced as these ladies prepare for what is ahead. The Keene State College Dance team began their season with tryouts, which was in full swing starting Monday.
From learning new material to the actual audition, there was plenty of work to be put in.
According to the Keene State College Dance Team Facebook page, the team is a competitive hip-hop dance team. Competitions are located throughout the New England area along with nationals that take place in Orlando, Florida. They perform at many school athletic events, though mostly at basketball games. Bringing school spirit to campus is a priority for the team at school activities.
Senior Captain, Courtney Capone, and Senior Co-Captain, Rebecca Fracasse, said they are prepared to lead the team to success.
Capone has been on the team for three years now. She was elected captain for this season last spring and was the co-captain last year.
To become a captain or a part of the E-board, Capone said, “The team does elections in the spring at the end of the
year and someone will nominate another member of the team to take a position. Following the first nomination, someone else has to second that nomination.”
She continued, “Then once nominated, the individuals running for secretary and manager perform a dance from the previous season and also do a speech on why they want the position and what qualities they could bring to the E-board. The captain and co-captain nominees will choreograph their own dance and make a speech as well. In the end, everyone takes a vote for all four positions”.
This year will be Fracasse’s first year as a co-captain and being a part of the E-board for the team. Similar to Capone, Fracasse has also been apart of the team for three years.
Both of the girls explained how the dance team is student-run without any coaches. Together the two captains choreograph all of the dances along with the organization of fundraisers, events and nationals, which is handled by the whole E-board.
As captain, Capone said she has a positive outlook for the season ahead.
“Our main goal is to make it to nationals and hopefully make it to finals. For right now, it’s just to fundraise enough money to even get to nationals and just improve overall while becoming unison in our dancing,” Capone said.
Capone also mentioned how the team will be making team goals along with individual goals that will hopefully be met by the end of the season.
Fracasse explained nationals as a collegiate competition that any team can go to.
“Sixteen girls can dance on the stage and we are in the Open Division but there is also Division one and two. It’s pretty competitive. There were eleven teams last year and the top nine went to finals.” Fracasse said.
Capone finished with sharing that the team has around 30 incoming first-years trying out for this season.
One of those so-called “newbies” is Kelsey Harper, who just recently became an owl here at KSC. She explained how her favorite part of being here is the experience itself, and that KSC very homey.
Harper has done eight years in Jazz and Broadway style dancing.
She also did a year in hip-hop and has danced on her own leading up to tryouts. While in highschool she was the captain of her dance team.
With the transition to college, Harper explained that she wanted to join the dance team because it keeps her busy and takes her mind away from the school work.
Though it is late at night she said that she has been enjoying it thus far. She also included how she has enjoyed meeting new people and learning new dances. Harper added, “If I don’t make the team this year, I am definitely going to come back and try again next year.”
When asked if she was nervous for auditions Harper said she gets nervous when people watch her but it is something she is learning to deal with.
“I have to remember there’s going to be an audience. But having these elite members of the team watching you and judging you is kinda scary,” Harper said.
Those elite members that will judge Harper include senior, Alexa Deluca, who is a four- year member and the secretary of the team, along with senior, Victoria Smolenski, who is also a four-year member and the manager of the team.
“I have been dancing for sixteen years and I grew up dancing in a studio all the way up to my senior year. When coming here I tried out for the dance team and hadn’t done a lot of hip-hop before,” Deluca said. She continued, “I love hip-hop now though and I am also a dance major here so I take a lot of modern classes and ballet.”
Smolenski has been dancing since she was three, though she stopped dancing when she was seven and picked it back up when coming to college. She also said that she loves hip-hop.
Being on the team last year, Deluca said her favorite part was going to Nationals with the team and that it is always a really good time.
She also said that it is a rewarding feeling to try hard in practices then finally make it to finals.
“My favorite part is bonding with the team and all of the community service we do. For instance, we did Relay for Life and everyone was really excited that we were there, so it was really cool to be apart of the community and be together as a team and really bond,” Deluca said.
Both Deluca and Smolenski explained that one of the team strengths is pushing through challenges. When going to Nationals the team is typically the underdog in the competition, so having the strength and believing that they can place high is something the team does well together.
They also mentioned the team’s strength is pushing through, because they are a club here, and not an actual team.
There is funding through the school but not as much as sports teams, which makes it a hassle to get practice space and other necessities. Neither member could think of a weakness for the team.
The season will commence once tryouts come to a close on September 11. Make sure to stick around for half time at the basketball games this winter to see these ladies perform.
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org