|ISU competitive dance team qualifies for Nationals|
|Written by Ryan Hoffenberg, Reporter|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2013 10:41|
The Illinois State University competitive dance team (CDT) placed second in the National Dance Alliance Dance Camp, qualifying them for the Nationals in April.
As captains of CDT, junior Jackie Svetich and senior Amanda Baittie have both made dancing an important part of their lives from an early age.
“I first started dancing at the age of three at my local park district. It was a fun way for a toddler to stay active, socialize, and experiment with music and movement. I have loved it for the past 18 years,” Baittie said.
“I also started dancing when I was three. I saw my older cousin’s dance recital and fell in love and begged my mom to put me in classes,” Svetich added.
Their love of dance and yearning to be more involved upon their arrival at ISU made joining the dance team an obvious move for both Svetich and Baittie.
Joining the CDT involves practices at least twice a week, group workouts and several noncompetitive performances.
So far this season the team has performed in the 2012 Homecoming festivities, Impact Dance Team showcases and various high school events in order to gain the interest of future Redbirds.
“While many of our performances are informal and non-competitive, they are a great way for us to build performance practice for our Nationals competition in April,” Baittie said.
In order to receive a bid to compete in Nationals, the team must attend a summer camp through the Universal Dance Association. The camp is three days of learning routines and being evaluated on their performances. The Redbirds’ score was enough to earn them second-place and secure them a bid to Nationals.
“In preparation for Nationals, we practice more and we practice harder. We perfect every eight-count. It’s a lot of repetition, cleanliness and perfection,” Svetich said.
“Everybody knows practice makes perfect. It’s the simplest way to succeed,” Baittie said.
Because the CDT is funded mainly through student contributions, it is up to the members of the team to come up with the cost of traveling to Nationals. This year, the team raised money by working for a dance competition called JAMfest.
“The organization treated us as paid employees … the money each girl earned for their full day of service was awarded to our team,” Baittie said.
When the dancers are not busy competing, performing or fundraising, they enjoy spending time together off of the dance floor.
“Our biggest strength, in my opinion, is how close we are.” Svetich said, “You would think that with 14 girls and no coach, there would be a lot of drama, but we’re truly a family.”
Neither Baittie nor Svetich will be returning to the CDT after this semester, but they both consider dance a permanent part of their lives and see a strong future in store for the Redbirds.
“I hope that I can forever be dancing, whether it be on a stage or in my future kitchen. I can’t imagine stopping,” Baittie said.