Dance team debuts at basketball games

Alyssa Fairbanks

The Whitman Dance Team spiced up the Feb. 6 men’s basketball game against Linfield and the Feb. 7 women’s game against Willamette with a brand new routine performed during half-time. The dance team of 17 girls had been practicing non-stop for the past two weeks in preparation for their half-time performances. They performed a short routine to “The Fame” by Lady GaGa to the cheering Whitman fans.

“The past two weeks we have been practicing five times a week, which is a ton. We have been working really hard to get ready for our performance,” sophomore Rachelle Sloss, the dance team co-captain, said.

This is Sloss’s first semester as a team captain, although she has had been dancing since she was very young.
“I’ve done a little ballet, hip-hop and jazz. But, I really got into dance in high school when I was in my high school’s dance team,” she said.

As captain, Sloss choreographed the entire dance. Last semester she helped the senior captains choreograph sections, but this is the first entire routine she has done without assistance.

When asked about the challenges of choreographing a routine for a sporting event versus a stage performance, Sloss said, “The routine has to be bigger and more visual to fill the space. The audience is looking down, the lighting is different and the proximity to the audience is different. All this changes the choreography.”

Senior Lauren Adler, Sloss’s co-captain, agreed.

“[At] the basketball games . . . you are extremely close to the audience and you can see every individual face. It can be awkward and scary, especially if you’ve never performed at one before,” Adler said.

The dance team strikes a poseSophomore dance team member Kristine Unkrich is relatively new to performing at sporting events, but she already has some observations.

“In a theater, it’s more of a show because you can work with lighting and background: it’s more theatrical. At a half time show, it’s more there for a little entertainment,” Unkrich said.

Despite the challenges, Adler believes that performing at basketball games is a good venue for the dance team. The court floor is easy to dance on and there is a pre-existing sound system. Nor do other sports lend themselves as well to half-time dance performances.

“Think of how ridiculous it would be for us to bust out on Ankeny during the halftime of an IM football game,” Adler said.
Apart from these two basketball games, the dance team will be performing at two more games later in the season. Sloss hopes they will also perform at Greek Week as they did last year.

“Performing is what I like most about dancing,” said Unkrich. And Whitman fans seemed to love watching the dance team perform.