Simpson dance aims to continue last year’s success


Submitted to The Simpsonian

The Simpson College Dance Team received their awards after winning virtual nationals this spring.

by Liv Allen, ID Magazine Editor-in-Chief

The Simpson College Dance Team looks to continue their success from last season as they begin the 2021-2022 season. 

The team will kick off the year holding 2020 National Dance Alliance College Championship titles in pom and hip-hop, along with winning the 2020 American Rivers Conference Cheer and Dance Invitational and the Iowa State Drill & Dance Team Association State Championships in the same divisions. 

Head Coach Lindsay Taylor said she hopes the team will continue their claim to these titles this season.

“We hope to still keep those first place titles on both of those routines. In general, the team has placed pretty regularly in top placements throughout all of our competitions during the past few years,” Taylor said. “I would hope to keep doing that, just placing at the top. That way, we can maintain those titles and still have our name out there.”

One way her team plans to do this? Focusing on the performance. 

“We work a lot on performing. They’re all good dancers–they have great technique–but what sets a routine apart from the rest is that performance factor,” Taylor said. “Often we’ll do the routines in groups, so we’re performing for each other rather than performing for empty bleachers. We do that to work on actually getting into the routine, like facial expressions and extra stage presence, not just going through the motions.”

Out of the different dance styles the team performs, Taylor said she is looking forward to seeing the team compete in pom and hip-hop the most. 

“My favorite is pom by far, it’s always been something that I’ve loved to do and love choreographing,” Taylor said. “I’m also really excited for our hip-hop routine this year, it’s definitely a different style than what we’ve done in the past. I’m really excited to see them get out there and show off that new style because it is so different from the others.”

Senior Sydney Alt has seen her team grow and develop throughout her dancing career at Simpson. 

“I have seen the team culture evolve based on the coach, our opportunities to practice together with changing COVID policies and new members joining the team each year. This year, I think our team has strong leadership from our various captains and SAAC representatives. My new teammates have introduced new levels of talent that challenge us all to improve and compete at a higher level,” she said.  

 Alt shed light on how the team’s culture has contributed to their success.

“We come to practices with similar goals that lend to focus and the ability to work well with feedback. I think we all make ourselves better because of our team culture; we have shared intentions, support one another, and push each other to learn from our mistakes,” Alt said. “This sets us up to perform in unison, a major scoring element at dance team competitions.”

First-year Clare Veren said the team’s success last season encouraged her to continue her competitive dance career at Simpson, but the team itself solidified her decision. 

“As soon as I met the coach and team members, I immediately felt welcomed. With or without a successful past, joining a team with a positive atmosphere was very important to me,” Veren said. “I feel like our dance team has built a positive reputation on campus, not only because of our success, but also the way our members act and carry themselves outside of the studio.”

Veren said she is excited about her debut collegiate dance competition. 

“I’m most looking forward to competing. We have been preparing for State since before classes even started, and it will be great to finally get to show off our hard work and see results. I am very excited about State and preparing for the conference and national tournament coming up in 2022,” she said. 

Alt is also excited to start performing live again, something the team was limited in doing during the 2020-2021 season.  

“I get the most joy and spark from performing in front of an actual audience. Last season, we were only able to perform in-person at the conference competition, and that wasn’t even open to the public,” Alt said.  “I am thrilled for the team’s opportunity to perform live at the state, conference and national competitions this year.” 

On top of the performances, Taylor is looking forward to watching her team grow and improve together throughout the season. 

“I really want them to be able to look back at where they started and see improvement. That’s the whole reason why we’re here. I want them to be able to learn and grow,” Taylor said. “I want them to look back at when they first learned the choreography and then watch themselves when they perform and see how much progress that they’ve had.”

She also hopes to reclaim the several titles the dance team won last season. 

“Obviously, I want them to place first in all of the routines, so that’s another big goal of mine as well. But really, I just want them to be able to see that their hard work has paid off and to be able to feel that sense of accomplishment.” 

The dance team kicks off their competition season on Friday, Dec. 3, at the Iowa State Dance Championships at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.