The University of Indianapolis dance team has begun their pursuit of another national championship. The team has won two championships at the Dance Team Union College Classic in Orlando, Florida previously according to UIndy Athletics. According to junior and Team Captain Andi Parks, the team uses the entirety of their season to prepare for this competition.
“Whenever we’re doing our dances at football, we’re practicing our performance quality and our movement quality and things that matter toward nationals, but it’s a lot more laid back and fun and chill,” Parks said.
Even though the team currently performs at UIndy basketball games, they are also working on their routines for the national competition, according to Parks. She said since they are focusing on both game day performances and preparing their routines for nationals, this part of the season is the most chaotic for them.
“As of now, we’re getting into basketball and nationals season, which is the craziest time in our season,” Parks said. “We’re trying to learn our nationals dances, clean them, while also keeping up with all the dances we perform at basketball.”
Head Dance Coach Carlee Bachek said the team begins practicing as early as July, but that those practices are focused more on football performances. She said practices are a lot more intensive now as opposed to earlier in the season. Currently, they are working to perfect every part of their routines both for games and nationals.
Bachek said her favorite part of the season is when she gets to see the dances come together. She said the competition dances start off as concepts and unrefined movements, but eventually, the dancers come together to put on a really good performance.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the dances progress,” Bachek said. “It’s always fun to watch when we learn our competition dances, they look like a bunch of nothing really, because they’re so intricate and they’re so challenging. Then, by the end, to see it all kind of come together and put on a really good show is my favorite part of the season.”
Parks said year-to-year, the team dynamic changes a lot as new dancers join the team and others leave. She said because every dancer comes from a different background and level of knowledge or skill, coming together to look like one cohesive group can be challenging.
“With dance, everybody gets different training, and everybody has such different dance backgrounds,” Parks said. “ I might have been taught that my arms are supposed to go a certain way in my leap, but somebody else might be taught a different way in their leap, and that’s how they’ve been trained and that’s what they grew up on. So we’re coming all together as one big group and trying to figure out our differences in our training, and cleaning ourselves and adjusting ourselves and our habits that we’ve been trained into, to match the rest of the team.”
Parks said helping the team work together is one of the jobs she likes most about her role as a captain. She said she has had a lot of fun meeting the new girls on the team and welcoming them as the team works through their season. Bachek said this year’s team is really close and that she has seen friendships developing outside of their roles as teammates.
“I feel like this team had a really good bond together,” Bachek said. “They’ve all done a really good job of getting to know each other as people outside of dance, so they’re all pretty close. And there are a lot of solid friendships on the team this year, which has been really fun.”
Bachek and Parks both said the team’s goal this year is to win another national championship. Parks said the team competes a pom routine as well as a team performance dance, and that the team hopes to win with both. According to Parks, the DTU College Classic takes place April 9 through 12, where the Greyhounds will seek their third championship ring.