By Emma Donley, Staff Writer
September 14, 2023
When looking for a college, there are many different factors that a student needs to consider. For those who have spent their lives dancing, a college with a dance team is a massive incentive in choosing where to spend their college years. In the past, many girls who wanted to dance in college had to compromise their desires in order to attend Ouachita. Last year, sophomore Chandler Yung realized the need of a dance team on the football sidelines and started the process of creating a space for one.
Yung started dancing at the age of three, inspired by her mom and family who were dancers before her. She was forced to stop dancing for two years after high school because, though she had found her home at Ouachita, the university didn’t have a dance team for her to join. She took this need into her own hands and started to ask questions.
Her process to establish a dance team began by contacting students who might be interested in the team. When she knew that other students would be willing to participate, she contacted Dr. Wesley Kluck and the Director of Student Life at the time, Tim Harrell, who helped her begin the process of making this dream a reality.
Ashley and Melissa Carroza, the owners of Dance Praise in Arkadelphia, jumped on board and took the position of coaches. They have already been advocates for the program, even earning scholarships for the girls who participate on the team.
Every practice, the team works to live out their motto “dance for the Lord.” That is pioneer Yung’s hope for the team in the future. “I just hope that we can continue the momentum and keep the dance team on campus,” Yung said.
Junior Endsley Norman is the captain of the team. She heard about the team and expressed her interest early on in the process. Certainly, this season isn’t expected to be the last time you see Norman dancing, as she so dearly loves the team already.
“I would have loved to participate all four years, so I’m going to have to do it the two [more] years that I’m here,” Norman said.
The dance team will perform on the sidelines of both football and basketball games, at pep rallies and potentially in the Festival of Christmas show. With this being the first year of the dance team, there are many decisions being made that will affect the team’s development and future in years to come.
Norman and her co-captain, junior Alyssa Rye, have choreographed the Ouachita band songs and designed the game day hair and make-up looks. These are just some of the many traditions they are cultivating that are expected to live on.
Freshman Lydia Crow auditioned for the team when she attended Early Registration in the spring and felt a part of the team as soon as the participants prepared to audition together.
“Dance is a good way to bond with different people,” said Crow. “We moved in a week early and we went through a huge change together in moving into college.”
The team hopes that the momentum they have built up for the team will enable the campus to respect the team and carry on their new tradition of raising spirits through dance.