Cheerleading, pep band, dance team promote spirit
The University of Indianapolis cheerleading squad, pep band and dance team all promote school spirit by bringing entertainment and excitement to athletic events. Their members all are willing to be involved in school activities in any way they can.
This year, the University of Indianapolis cheerleading squad comprises 15 cheerleaders. Each one has to commit to attending all home football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, six hours of practice a week, workouts and any other events in which the squad participates.
Head Cheerleading Coach Tessa Wolsiffer returned this year for her ninth year of coaching. She said that this year she is excited about the halftime routine the cheerleaders will be doing at Homecoming.
“We actually haven’t danced in a couple of years, so that is something that we are really excited about. The girls have been working really hard,” Wolsiffer said.
The cheerleading squad is a big part of getting the crowd excited about games and motivating the team. They participate in prayer with the team after each game, sing and dance the fight song for the team, and give cookies and encouraging notes to the players before they leave for a big game. Whether Homecoming activities or pep rallies, the cheer squad helps in any way they can.
“Anything the athletic department asks us to do, we do,” Wolsiffer said.
The cheerleaders also have many opportunities to reach out to those outside of campus. The squad held a cheer camp over the summer.
During the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, they participated in an event with other area cheerleaders. The cheerleaders recognize that representing UIndy means being role models.
“I am a really big stickler for having a positive reputation, and I always want the girls to represent the university well,” Wolsiffer said. “I talk to them about being positive, helpful to other students on campus and being nice to staff. We try to be off campus so that people know that there are cheerleaders and that they are positive role models on campus.”
According to Wolsiffer, the cheerleaders have had, and will continue to have, great memories. One of Wolsiffer’s best memories was when the squad had a girl with special needs cheer with them during a game. She was given the opportunity to wear a uniform and feel she was a part of the squad.
“Outside of school, I am an occupational therapist and work with special education, so that was really fun, to see her be a part of the squad. It was probably one of the best things I got to participate in,” Wolsiffer said.
The cheerleaders are not the only ones who bring excitement to the games here at UIndy. The pep band also brings a different type of entertainment and spirit to sporting events.
Pep band members participate not only in home football and basketball games, but also in pep rallies, Homecoming Week and parades.
“We want to try and be involved with everything [as much] as we can,” said Pep Band Director Vu Nguyen.
Being in the pep band requires practicing for two and a half hours each week, and paying attention to the action during the games.
The pep band has to know when to play certain songs at certain moments to bring excitement to the fans. Nguyen said if there is a big play or interception during the game, the band usually will play part of the fight song.
“We play music that adds to the atmosphere of the game,” Nguyen said.
Currently, there are 30 students in the pep band, which is 10 more than the previous year. According to Nguyen, the group is always hoping to grow and looking for anyone who loves to play music and would enjoy being part of the games.
“Anyone who is interested in participating in the group does not have to audition,” Nguyen said. “You just have to be able to play your instrument. We have a lot of fun.”
A few of the arrangements the pep band plans for this year include “Some Nights” by Fun., “Animal” by Neon Trees, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses and “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz.
In his second year of directing, Nguyen said that he is looking forward to being a part of the games and making it to the playoffs again this year in football.
In addition to the cheerleading squad and pep band, the dance team also helps promote spirit throughout the university.
The UIndy Crimsonettes Dance Team promotes spirit and brings entertainment to football and basketball games. The dance team performs at a majority of the home games and plans to make appearances at every home football game this year.
There are currently 24 members on the dance team. Being on the team requires a commitment of four practices a week and performing at the games.
Current graduate student and coach of the Crimsonettes Carlee Green said that she believes the dance team is a great way to provide entertainment at the games.
She said that the team also gets involved in the community.
“The team wears a lot of school colors to show spirit. We also always do a service project once a year and participate in any other opportunity that comes up,” Green said.
According to Green, fans can look forward to seeing the dance team perform during Homecoming Week. A few of the performances they plan for this year include routines to a Lady Gaga mix, songs from “The Great Gatsby” and the song “I Want to Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston.
Green also said that the dance team plans to do an hour-long showcase at the end of the year. Details of the event will be announced later this year.
“My favorite memory was probably the showcase last year,” Green said. “It is a bunch of routines that we have done throughout the year and a couple we choreograph just to perform at the showcase. That [the showcase] was really cool, and there were about 200 people there last year.”
The cheer squad, pep band and dance team all will participate in a men’s soccer game this year as well.
The game will take place at Key Stadium on Sept. 27 against the Truman State University Bulldogs. The match is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.