Stepping it up with PJC dancers

Home Archived Sports Stepping it up with PJC dancers

Kelly Bream

Published: November 22, 2006

The PJC dance team astounded the audience Monday night at the Milton campus during halftime performances at the men’s and women’s basketball games.

“Performing at the basketball games is an adrenaline rush where our team can show everyone our hard work that we perfect during our practices,” said Natalie Esson, PJC dance team member.

The basketball games give the dance team an opportunity to show everyone their talent and dedication to dance.

The dance team moved simultaneously to hip-hop music by Ciara. The dancers performed confidently on the wooden basketball floor as the crowd focused attentively on their every move. The crowd stood and chanted loudly during the performance.

Audience member Sean Turner showed that he was a fanatic, chanting loudly during the dance team’s performance.

“The dance team is excellent, and they have improved greatly since the last time I saw them perform,” Turner said. “They are a good form of entertainment since there is not a concession stand for the crowd to go to during halftime.”

Audience member Ashley Gibson noted potential changes for the dance team’s performance.

“The dance team performed well, but they need to find a way to get the crowd involved,” Gibson said.  “The music needs to be more upbeat and the dancers need to look more enthusiastic instead of robot-like when they perform.”

The dance team, which is not a co-ed team, is made up of eight females that must balance their intensive practice schedule along with their coursework. All PJC dance members must be enrolled in at least nine credit hours during spring and fall term, and they must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average.

“Some of the requirements for the dance members is that they must attend all practices and all of the men’s and women’s basketball games that begin November 2,” said LaRita Carter, PJC dance coach.

Unlike the cheerleaders, the dance team does not travel to any away basketball games and they only perform during halftime. The requirements to be on the dance team differ from the cheerleaders as well.

“The skills required to be on the PJC dance team are pirouettes, leaps, and basic dance and jazz techniques. All dance members must have previous dance experience,” Carter said.

PJC dance member Natalie Esson noted the challenges associated with being a PJC dance team member.

“It’s hard to make the PJC dance team, but it is doable,” Esson said. “You have to have a great attitude, learn dance steps quickly, as well as having good leaps and pirouettes. The hardest part about being on the dance team is having to juggle school and practices at the same time. You can’t really keep a steady job because you can’t miss a practice or game.”

A serious commitment is also needed to be on the dance team.

“We have to learn to work as a group and we have to perfect every dance move for our performances,” said Britney Carowell, dance team member.  “Practices consist of mostly critiquing our performances.”

“Being a PJC dance member gets hard sometimes because I can only hold a job two days a week, and after every game I have to go home and study for my classes,” Carowell said.

The PJC dance team attends community and PJC events as well as basketball games.

“We also attend [other] events that are a lot of fun,” Esson said.

Scholarships are available to the dance team members.

“A $500 scholarship is given to the dancers that dance at PJC for two semesters,” Carter said.