The 16 talented members of the Rollins Dance Team boost excitement at all Men and Women’s Basketball home games. However, the team now hopes to grow beyond campus limits within the next year.
Co-captain Alex Hill (‘21) said that being able to challenge himself became his favorite aspect about being on the team.
“I also love getting to work on a team of such strong women, we are constantly helping each other learn and hyping each other up,” said Hill.
On Feb. 8, the Men and Women’s Basketball teams took on Nova Southeastern, and the Lady Tars claimed an epic win.
“It’s so much fun to get to hype up both the players and the students from the sidelines, especially at games like last Wednesday, when the women went into overtime,” said Hill.
The dance team offers students the opportunity to express themselves through the art of dancing, giving them the ability to perform beyond Rollins’ basketball courts.
Each year, the dance team performs during an Orlando Magic game at the Amway Center. Though student-led, the team represents Rollins in front of Central Florida’s basketball fans.
Even while the team frequently performs in front of large crowds, the dancers are anything but victims of stage fright, embracing opportunities to perform for the Rollins community.
Serving as the team’s newest captains, Morgan Eustis (’20) and Hill set the tone for the new season, beginning with their friendship.
“Being co-captains with Morgan has been one my favorite experiences at Rollins, and I’m thrilled to still have another full year with the team,” said Hill.
Each fall, auditions are held for anyone interested in dance. The judges take into account technical skill, background in all styles, and passion for the art form.
“Our main focus this season has been to rebrand and, overall, step up our game. We got a new coach this year, Gabby Simon, who is an alumna of the team, and she has really taken us to a new level,” said Hill.
The “rebranding” process started to take form under the care of their new coach, who is anything but a new face.
Gabby Simon (‘19) committed three years to the program, and her contagious excitement for the group’s future relates to her passion for the art of dancing.
During her sophomore year, Simon’s love for the sport drove her to join the dance team.
Her goals for this season are to keep challenging the team with variations of choreography and dance techniques, while ensuring discipline during practices and games.
“A big goal for the future would be to start competing,” said Simon.
For the Tars, advancing their program was a mutual goal between each dancer. Currently serving as an intramural sport, the dancers want their success to be recognized further.
“We’d really like to be considered an official varsity team in the hopes of establishing ourselves as athletes on campus, and eventually receiving enough funding to compete,” said Hill.
After gaining incoming freshmen and new members, the team’s diversity and shared-mission has encouraged its motivation to grow.
The squad plans to get other students involved, pushing themselves to do the same on campus. While simultaneously performing at basketball games, their goals exceed their court presence.
Simon hopes that the team can get more involved in the community and on campus: “There are currently plans of hosting a dance clinic for children around Winter Park next year and potentially hosting pop-up dance classes for Rollins students,” said Hill.
The team’s values include having high standards of respect and commitment to the group.
As the Rollins basketball teams compete for the next two weeks, the dance team is polishing their routines for the next home game.
“The team knows the expectations for practices and is always able to be productive while still having a good time,” said Simon.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, both the Men and Women’s Basketball teams will compete for victories against Barry University.
Like any other basketball game, fans can expect to see the Rollins Dance Team steal the half-time show with new and exciting choreography.
“This has been a big year of really positive change for the team, and I’m really excited for the direction this can go in the future as well,” Hill said.