Article Review — Towson University Dance Team

If you pick up a copy or own a subscription of the popular Dance Spirit Magazine and turn to page 40 in the April 2010 issue, you will see a bright yellow and purple themed spread complete with colorful pictures of a group of college girls (and one very large trophy) splashed across the pages.  This isn’t an ad for a new dance clothing line or a plea to sign up for a competition; it’s an article entitled, “A Winning Streak” by Alison Feller and details the success of the Towson University Dance Team.

Towson University, located in Towson, MD, is known for it’s high academic standing in the world of higher education.  A Division I school, Towson ranks high in both sports and prestigious extra-curricular activities.  The dance team is no exception.

So why, you may ask, did this particular article catch my eye out of the dozens featured in Dance Spirit?  Besides the obvious that I, too, am a dance team dancer and know the pressure and dedication of being on a nationally competitive team, I have personally seen Towson’s Dance Team compete in person.  The NDA nationals competition they attend in April is the same one that I journey to Florida with my own team to compete in.  (The goal? (To bring home an exceedingly large trophy that costs an extra $15 baggage fee on the airplane ride back home. )

However, since the ACDT is a Division II school, we do not compete against Towson (…thank goodness).  Nevertheless, the Towson University Dance Team is one that other teams aspire to be.  Although I am not sure that I would be able to handle their rigorous (and by that I mean absolutely insane) training schedule and conditioning regimen, I respect and admire the girls who do.  Their talent and passion is obvious to anyone in the audience of their performance.

The article details practically every aspect of what being a member of the Towson Dance Team is all about from making the team to the pressure of nationals.  Auditions alone are a nerve-wrecking process.  Each potential member is given a 15-minute private audition where they showcase their dance abilities and technique.  This is done through a series of kick, turn and leap combinations and the girls may also be asked to perform a short, self-choreographed routine.  The judges then make a cut and callbacks are arranged.

If the dancer is lucky enough to make the team, they must then be “towsonized.”  As dance team members quickly realize, dancing on a dance team is very different than dancing at a studio.  The training the Towson team members on the first day of practice alone is enough to make any timid freshman rethink their spot on the team.  Under the hot Maryland summer sun, the team work “as hard as a football team,” running three miles outside followed by sprints up and down the campus’ steep inline multiple times.  Finally, they make their way to one of the parking garages and proceed to run up and down different staircases.  It is survival of the fittest – and only the strongest remain.

Countless hours of training follow in the months ahead.  Nationals may be in April, but as any dancer knows, the time flies by while preparing for the performance of a lifetime.  NDA nationals require a college routine to include 30 seconds of jazz, 30 seconds of traditional pom (similar to cheerleading motions), 30 seconds of hip-hop and 30-45 seconds of whatever the team decides to do.  Advanced turn combinations and leap sequences add to the mezmorizing qualities of each routine and can significantly impact the team’s overall score.  However, technicality and uniformity are also incredibly important towards the overall appearance and success of a team’s routine.

This year, the Towson University Dance Team will attempt to achieve their 12th straight championship title – a dream and a goal not easily achieved by other teams.  After last year’s impressive win in the Open Division with an “executioner, good v. evil” routine, Towson must once again step up their game to remain the elite of the dance world.

From this article and seeing the team perform live, I am certain that this author did a fine job in capturing the essence of the Towson Dance Team and showed them in their best light — not only as a winning team but as dedicated individuals.

Article Rank : A

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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