Eat, sleep, breathe, dance!
"I've been dancing since I was four and can't picture my life without it." Who can say they've been doing something they love consistently since they were four years old?
UNI's Dance Team placed fourth in the nation in Division I for their jazz and pom routines.
Mallory Asplund can. And, it's safe to say that every member of the UNI Dance Team shares these same feelings. Asplund, a junior majoring in leisure, youth and human services, along with the 15 other girls who make up UNI's Dance Team, has a passion for dance that has followed her from childhood to the national stage.
In January 2013, the UNI Dance Team traveled to Florida to participate in the Universal Dance Association (UDA) Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. The team placed fourth in the nation in Division I for their jazz and pom routines.
"Placing top five in jazz and pom was so rewarding," said Asplund. "We give up our Christmas break to practice twice a day and work on these dances. It's mentally and physically exhausting, but I wouldn't want to get to the competition and wish we would've practiced harder."
Many of us see the Dance Team, or Spirit Squad as they're sometimes called, on the sidelines at every football and basketball game, but these girls do so much more.
"Our season starts in the summer," said Kristin Foxhoven, a senior majoring in interpersonal communication. "During that time we're preparing for game day stuff and our first competition. Once school starts, we practice three times a week, perform at every home football game, inner-state rivalry games and every home women's and men's basketball game." The girls also get asked to make appearances in the community, fundraise for team purchases, participate in community service, and come up with choreography for high school teams across Iowa.
Visit the UNI Dance Team YouTube channel for videos of their most recent performances!
"To sum it up, we're everywhere!" says Mackenzie Johnson, a senior majoring in interior design. "Whether people notice or not, the UNI Dance Team is always representing UNI any way we can. We instill in each of the dancers that we are a face for the university, and as a member we're expected to uphold that honor in how we portray ourselves on and off the court."
After watching a practice or performance, there's no doubt that these girls uphold their high expectations. Their passion for dance is contagious and they wouldn't have it any other way.
"You know what they say," said Emily Marx, a senior majoring in communicative disorders, 'eat, sleep, breathe, dance.' I wouldn't know how to survive if I stopped."