Dance team looking for new coach

Dance team looking for new coach

by Ashley Van Alstine

Dance team tryouts can be both an exciting and stressful time when Simpson athletes compete to be part of the squad. This year, however, tryouts may also be a bittersweet time. After four years, the dance team will say goodbye to their coach, Becky Gripp.

Gripp is leaving Simpson in order to focus her time on her family and the dance studio that she has in Indianola. She’s worked with the dance team to get more publicity for the college as a whole, and to improve the team’s various dance techniques.

The team hasn’t named a new coach, but is bouncing around a few names.

For current dance team members, Gripp’s departure is disheartening. Members note they will miss their coach’s presence and ability to help the team to have continual success.

Sophomore Jessica Aldrich, a dance team member, is no exception.

“Becky is a very laid back, yet [she is also] an involved coach,” Aldrich said. “She always pushed us to do our best and constantly let us know how proud she was of us.”

The new team was selected on April 8 in Hopper Gymnasium. But with Gripp gone, Aldrich said it will be an adjustment.

“Having another coach will be extremely hard, just as in any sport,” Aldrich said. “It’s hard to get used to a new person and their style of coaching when you are so used to having things being run in a certain way. Becky has really taught me that dancing is fun. There were times when the team would be really stressed out and short with one another. Becky was always very calm and would help to remind us that dance was the number one thing that we had in common, and dance would be the thing that would get us through the tough times. She has also taught me to be proud of my accomplishments.”

Tryouts for next year’s squad consisted of learning a dance routine two hours prior to tryouts. The participants would then perform the one-minute routine that they had learned and then were also asked to perform a kick line, double pirouette, toe touch and a leap of choice. Participants tried out two at a time in alphabetical order.

While the main jitters were probably among those new to the tryout process, Gripp emphasized that the process applied to anyone interested in being a member of next year’s squad, regardless of current membership on the dance team.

“All dance team members have to tryout, including past squad members,” Gripp said. “The judges were coaches from other dance teams as well as the girls that help at my studio. I go but I don’t judge. I try not to get involved in a lot of the politics, the girls that were on the team before usually earn their way and get their spot back.

Still, dance team hopefuls need more than just a pretty face and a good smile to earn a spot on the squad

“Dance skills are the most basic credential needed to become a member of the Simpson College Dance Team,” sophomore dancer Kate Tierney said. “Besides the obvious necessity of dance skill and talent, a Simpson dancer is looked at to be a good representative and supporter of Simpson athletics and Simpson College as a whole.”