In their sophomore year, the Pacific University Dance Team isn’t headed toward any kind of slump.
This fall the team is bringing Portland Trailblazers’ Performance Teams’ Manager and Head Coach for the Blazer Dancers to Pacific University to instruct the dance team auditions.
The dance team’s Head Coach, Shaun Keylock has confirmed that Michelle Burch, who manages the Portland Trailblazers’ Blazer Dancers, Blazers Stunt Team and Junior Blazer Dancers, will be leading the auditions.
The dance team auditions will be held from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. on both Sept. 11 and 13 in Warner Hall Room 4.
The first day of auditions is an opportunity for interested students to get to know the team, complete paperwork and learn the expectations said Keylock.
On that day Burch will also teach those auditioning a routine, a unique experience for any dancer of any level Keylock explained.This routine will be performed on the second day, which is also mandatory to attend, in front of judges. The judges will include Burch, Keylock and Assistant Coach Berkley Holzschuh.
Keylock and Holzschuh said they are hopeful to expand the number of members to the dance team this fall.
The Pacific University Dance Team has gained attention through their performances at basketball games in the winter term of 2011.
They also promoted the team at club fairs and having a table set up at the annual Pacesetters competition.
“Getting the program recognized on campus was a big thing for me,” said Keylock.
“We are still in that building stage” said Keylock, “but we hope to perform a lot more.”
The team was recognized as a legitimate club on campus and held consistent membership throughout the year round season.
“We learned a lot as coaches,” said Holzschuh.
The coaches found that Pacesetters sparked the most interest among new students.Many incoming freshmen asked about the team and seemed interested, but administration also talked to both Keylock and Holzschuh and told them the dance team was a positive deciding factor in students choosing Pacific.
Holzschuh said that hearing excitement from incoming freshmen “gives us encouragement that we are doing something right.”
This year the team is stepping up to the next level and the next challenges.
Not only will the team continue to perform during Basketball games and other campus events, but expanding to performances during football games as well. These will be a new change to the team’s season this year.
To build up to these bigger events, Keylock and Holzschuh said they would like more dancers to dedicate themselves to the team.
Interested members need “dedication, excitement and a willingness to learn,” said Holzschuh.
Keylock said that both coaches encourage previous experience, but it’s not necessary if the dancer is dedicated.
“We’re excited for anyone who’s interested at this point,” said Keylock.
The excitement continues with the opportunity for curious students to learn from Burch.
Keylock said when he talked with Burch, she seemed excited and eager to visit Pacific.
Big names being associated with the Dance Team have helped them reach toward their future goals for the team Keylock and Holzschuh said.
Ultimately, the coaches said they want the team to be as a club sport under the Athletics Department. They also hope to reach nationals one day and help promote Pacific as a university through their performances.
The changes to their goals haven’t been the only changes for the team this year. This is the team’s first year under the title of Pacific University Dance Team. Originally, the group was called Pacific’s POM Squad.
Keylock said they decided to change the name because the Kickboxers, a previous dance team at Pacific, has disbanded. Along with that, “‘Dance Team’ is more universal,” said Keylock.
The two day auditions are a chance for incoming and current students to promote Pacific school spirit. With more performances, the coaches hope to continue encouraging school spirit.
“The more this program stays on campus, the more interest there is,” said Keylock.