Stephens College is forming a new competitive dance team that will begin competing in the 2014-15 school year.
The Stars Competitive Dance Team will allow those who have taken dance or participated on cheer squads to continue to compete on a collegiate level.
Stephens President Dianne Lynch and Athletic Director Deb Duren visited the NAIA Cheer & Dance Invitational competition in Oklahoma City last month to see “what it would take to make this happen,” Duren said.
It didn’t take long for them to decide to form a team on campus. “It is very Stephens,” said Duren, who is also vice president for student services.
Adding competitive dance to the roster of sanctioned sports benefits both dance majors and non-dance majors, Duren said.
“It gives those who have taken dance or participated on cheer squads a way to continue that even if they’re not pursuing a performance career,” she said. “For those who are in dance, it provides more performance experience to list on a resume.”
It also allows the College to provide athletic scholarships to dancers.
Stephens students have participated in pom and dance for years informally or through student clubs.
“I think it is absolutely wonderful that it is becoming a sanctioned sport,” said Michelle Niewald, a senior who has participated in the club.
With Stephens’ strong background in performing arts, it makes sense to have an official team, she said. “I think it can only get better from here.”
The NAIA considers competitive dance an emerging sport, and students will have the opportunity to compete regionally.
Tryouts for current students will be held on April 19 at Silverthorne Arena. Prospective students are being encouraged to submit an audition via video.
Once the program is up and running, Duren said she will begin the process of forming a companion competitive cheer program.
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