Dance team welcomes 14 new freshmen

Georgia Lodewyk— Staff Writer

Taking center stage at football game halftimes, the Dordt University dance team is back. This year, they are even stronger.

“The thing that we’re able to put in our tourneys were only dreams and wishes four years ago,” head coach Mel Knobloch said, “and it’s like, ‘we’re doing it, we’re making it happen.”

The Dordt dance team welcomed fourteen freshman this year, adding new faces to the veteran talent. Knobloch is excited for the possibilities a team of thirty can bring.

“That brings a lot of new opportunities,” Knobloch said, “to make those connections with more people and to reach out to different places. They get to bring a little bit of their style in from their high schools, collaborating all together.”

Such a large team is not without its challenges. Practicing routines together in the current aerobics room was tricky and tight, so they moved routine rehearsals to the rec center gymnasium. Knobloch sees this as a positive problem, and a possible opportunity to create two teams. A game day team would have more freedom to perform at more halftimes, events, pep rallies, and tailgates, while the competition team would spend more time rehearsing.

Maddie DeJong, a junior this year and one of the four captains, remembers the dance team her freshman year. Then, there were less than fourteen students were on the team. In two years, the team has more than doubled in size, and DeJong is excited to see what opportunities this could create.

“We just feel like we’re getting momentum and have a lot of talent and skill on the team this year,” DeJong said. “And so, I’m excited to see how well we do with our upcoming season.”

This fall, the dance team will have a new choreographed routine for every football game. DeJong looks forward to competing at the state level this November in Des Moines, where the team will compete in hip hop, jazz, and pom routines against universities from around the Iowa. Looking even farther ahead, Knobloch said the team’s goals reach past even that.

“I would love to see our team make it to nationals this year. We’ve been right on the cuff the last four years,” Knobloch said. “We’re so close, so that’s a huge goal of mine. I want to see that happen for the first time and make Dordt history.”

The fall season consists of halftime shows at football and basketball games, along with the Des Moines state competition, but the battle for a spot in nationals will not begin until the spring competition season. Both Knobloch and DeJong hope the team will make the cut and be able to travel to Michigan.

For now, the dance team continues practice every day. It takes about three weeks of hard work to learn a routine, and even more time to perfect it. With halftime shows to perform and competitions to prepare for, there’s no time to waste.

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