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Life of a College Dancer

By Emilee Aswad

NORTH ANDOVER- A huge part of everyone’s college experience is being a part of something on campus, whether that is a sport, club, or an organization. College dance is a sport that a lot of schools have, but sometimes are overlooked. 

Universities around the country have dance programs that excel. The dance world has never been an easy breeze for anyone. Some might say it is like a full time job. 

For many, dance starts at a very young age and instantly takes up most of people’s lives. The life of a dancer is always constant hard work and dedication, and it’s known that with determination and focus that you will succeed. 

When we look at the dance world from an outside perspective it seems very easy. A lot of people usually aren’t aware of what goes on behind the scenes. 

A Senior on the Merrimack College Dance Team, says “Dance has shaped my college experience in so many ways. It has gained me so many friendships and relationships that I know will last a lifetime, and it has helped me become more expressive, social and stay fit at college.”

Another Senior, Morgan Thayer, says, “these past 4 years have provided me with structure, time management, struggles, and some of the best times of my life. Dancing at Merrimack has given me the best friendships and connections with people that will last a lifetime. Dancing at Merrimack also brought me the greatest joy of dancing with my older sister for two years on the team who now became my assistant coach. Having my older sister as my coach has been an experience for me in the college dance world watch her grow and be able to teach me with her knowledge”

Dance creates great relationships with people. The teachers, coaches, captains, mentors you have throughout your college life shapes you into the dancer and person you are. 

“College Dance is hard because of how different it is from studio dance. When you have to learn different skills and techniques and change what you’ve known your entire life it can be difficult and frustrating. It’s also hard when you are beating one dance and drilling it so much it becomes overworked and tired. But once you get on the stage in Daytona every single hour we spend working on the dance is the most rewarding thing possible. The feeling of performing something you’ve worked on for months comes to life and the feeling is unexplainable” says Thayer. 

Many college dance teams around the country focus on one dance throughout the whole year. This comes with a lot of patience and dedication. 

The physical part of dance is a given how tough it will be, but a lot of people don’t realize the mental part. Picking apart a two minute dance for six months can be very mentally draining. 

Thayer also mentions, “College Dancers work on one or two dances from November to April. After all the game days are over, college dancers get to work to make one dance perfect for the stage. We also have one shot to do the dance we worked on all season, the best we ever have to hopefully get a good enough score to move along to the finals. The pressure this causes is insane in just knowing you need to do a 2:00 minute routine perfectly just once after all the hard work we’ve put in all year.” 

For many, dance allows a lot of people to gain discipline and also gives them an environment to express themselves. College dance is a sport that should be recognized a lot more for all of the hard work these dancers put in. 

“People may not know the amount of time that goes into dancing on a college team. Even though we are considered a club sport, we practice just as much, if not more than some of the D1 Varsity sports in college”, says Senior Kaitlyn Svendsen. 

Make sure to keep up with the Merrimack College Dance Team as they perform at Merrimack’s basketball games and prepare to head to Daytona in April for Nationals. 

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