Club & Greek

The Other Girls

Monmouth Dance Team Takes Third in The Battle of the Northeast Competition

DANCEIf you have ever been to a University football or basketball game than you have certainly seen this hard working group of students perform, whether it be during a time-out of a basketball game or half time at a football game. I’m not talking about the Cheerleading Squad. I’m not talking about the Pep Band. I’m talking about the Dance Team.

The University Dance Team was officially recognized during the spring semester of 2001. The team performs at every home football game as well as every home men and women’s basketball game. This year the dance team consists of nine girls; three freshman, one sophomore, four juniors and one senior.

Lauren Buonpane, junior math education major, is captain of the dance team, and has been dancing for 15 years. Buonpane came to the University with plans to join the dance team. “I love being able to dance after all these years,” explained Buonpane, “and being involved with the University is great.” As captain Buonpane holds the responsibility of running practices every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, helping choreograph the dances and being a leader. Buonpane said, “Being a junior and being captain is a lot of work, but the team has really come together this year and I am proud of all the girls for the effort they put in every week.”

In addition to dancing at football and basketball games here at the University, the Dance Team also takes part in competitions, their most recent one taking place in January of this past winter break. The competition took place at South Brunswick High School and was called The Battle of the Northeast. The team placed third in the jazz dance division, finishing behind Rutgers and Providence College. According to Kristen Isaksen, advisor to the team, this was the best the team has ever placed at that particular competition.

Isaksen works at the University as the Associate Director of Financial Aid and has been involved with the Dance Team since it began in the spring of 2001. Isaksen referred to herself as the team’s strongest supporter. “My job is to handle as many administrative tasks as possible so the team can focus on what they do best – dancing,” said Isaksen. She is the middle man between the team and University, attends practices, performances, meetings and travels with the team. Isaksen said, “I really enjoy the time I spend with the team. All of the members are committed to making this team the best it can be. I’m proud of how far the dance team has come over the last 10 or so years and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

Lindsey Irwin, is a junior English elementary education major and treasurer for the team. Irwin has been dancing nearly her whole life as well and came to the University with intent to join the team. As treasurer Irwin handles most monetary tasks for the team such as collecting fees for competitions, clothing and fundraising. Irwin and Buonpane both agreed they prefer dancing for basketball games over football games, because the team has more involvement during the basketball games. At the football games the dance team performs once before the game and once during half time as opposed to the basketball games where in addition to half time they also perform during time outs. “I love dancing for the University,” said Irwin, “More students should go the games though; the games are more fun when the MAC is full and it’s great to see school spirit.”

The dance team has competed at the NDA Nationals in Daytona, Florida for the past two years and although they are skipping it this semester they plan to come back strong next year. Buonpone said, “It’s an expensive trip but it’s also a lot of fun. With five new girls on the team this year and only one graduating next year we decided to skip this year and practice hard with plans of competing march of 2013.”

Nicole Dobron, junior health studies major, is co-captain of the team. “I love dancing for Monmouth and doing something I love as well as being part of a close group of girls that share the same passion I do,” said Dobron. The position involves helping choreograph, helping with makeup before performances and pretty much whatever the team needs me for she explained. “Sometimes I feel the student body doesn’t realize how hard we work and what really goes into getting prepared before events; it’s not just simple games. Getting prepared for the games, nationals, and or competitions is a ton of work and is extremely time consuming,” Dobron said.

Next time you are at a basketball or football game, take note of the group of girls between the pep band and the cheerleaders. Maybe wait an 10 extra minutes during half time before getting up to get that pretzel or hotdog. All three teams collaborate at athletic events to bring entertainment and support to the students and atheletes.

PHOTO COURTESY of Lauren Buonpane