Dance team seeks respect


by Amy Hubner

The Storm dance team has put in long hours at 6 a.m. practices, and it’s ready to perform for the 2005-06 season.

Senior captain of the team, Nicole Anderson, said the team’s positive attitude, dedication, talent and motivation has paid off.

“Our team has grown tremendously in the four years I have been here,” Anderson said. “I am really excited for this season.”

High goals are set for this team, but the women have also set their own goal: getting others to accept the dance team as a sport. Sophomore Jessica Ellingson thinks the Simpson dance team deserves more respect than what has previously been shown.

“I challenge anyone who doesn’t believe dance is a sport to come to one of our practices,” Ellingson said. “They are physically and mentally tough.”

Anderson agreed with her teammate.

“There is a lot of physical activity required to dance,” Anderson said. “It is aerobically challenging and you need to have endurance, flexibility, talent and skill in order to be successful at it.”

The school’s athletic department was less confident in defining the status of the dance team.

“The dance team receives all of the same privileges and respect as every other team, but as far as scheduling priorities and things like that, the competitive teams have first priority,” Athletic Director John Sirianni said.

He said the women on the team are respected just like other athletes at Simpson.

“The team is a great opportunity for the girls and we truly have just as much respect for them as all the other athletes on campus,” Sirianni said. “When they travel to different places they represent our school very well.”

The dance team members receive a varsity letter of the same level as all other athletes – but Anderson wasn’t too satisfied with the financial support from the department.

“We don’t receive as much recognition as the other teams as far as the athletic department is concerned,” Anderson said. “We receive an athletic letter, so I feel like we deserve more money from the budget.”

The dance team has to pay for the majority of its uniforms every year.

“The uniforms cost us $2,000 because there are so many rules and guidelines which we have to follow,” Ellingson said. “The athletic department helps us out some, but we have to make most of the money throughout the year doing a number of fund-raisers.”

Regardless of its challenges, Simpson’s dance team still has a positive outlook.

“The team really has a high skill level this year and we work really well together,” Anderson said. “Our team is close and it shows when we dance.”

Although dancing is a team activity, its members also feel a high amount of personal accomplishment.

“When I am dancing I don’t care what people think of me, I go out there and just give it my all,” Ellingson said.