Dance, cheerleading shake up Midnight Madness (Video Exclusive)

By Laura Van De Pette Kellie Be
October 14, 2004

Justin Hallman

In addition to 33 members of Cabrini’s hottest dancers rocking the court at Midnight Madness, the newly founded cheerleading squad will also share half-time on Friday, Oct. 22. The loyal Cavalier fans of Midnight Madness will experience twice the spirit and entertainment as both the dance team and cheerleading squad will perform at the same venue for the first time in the dance team’s five-year establishment.

The newly founded cheerleading squad was started in 2003 by sophomores Maria Lena Interrante and Danielle DeRosa but did not make much progress until this year when Interrante and junior Dana Coia, became captains. This year Amy Hecht, assistant director of Student Activities, is their adviser. "I oversaw the selecting of a professional coach to run tryouts and the selection of the squad. Now that the squad has selected their captains, they’ll be setting future goals for themselves," Hecht said.
Interrante decided to start the team last year with DeRosa because of her previous experience in high school cheerleading. "At orientation Jason Bozzone, director of Student Activities, told us to get involved, so I did. We mostly did fundraising last year though. It wasn’t until Amy became our adviser that we actually made headway. The other captain Dana Coia has been great too. She is so dedicated and a really great captain. She is so organized and that’s part of the reason we have gotten so far," Interrante said.
As Midnight Madness approaches and the excitement brews on campus, the cheerleaders felt they needed to step their routine up a notch with new uniforms. The squad began a candy fundraiser during Family Weekend as a means to purchase uniforms.
"We have been working really hard and are really looking forward to performing at Midnight Madness," Megan Milliken, a sophomore education major and member of the cheerleading squad, said.
Although many of Cabrini’s male students are hoping the dance team and cheerleading squad will find themselves in a fiery cat-fight during half-time at Midnight Madness, the ladies are pleased and accepting of each other. The only thing the two teams promise is a stellar show. Todd Boyen, a junior finance major, said, "The more girls, the merrier. Both teams are there to have a good time so I don’t understand why there is any controversy."
Kendall Neil, a senior English and communication major and assistant coach of the dance team, said, "The girls and I are not fazed or bothered by splitting half-time with the cheerleading squad. The dance team will perform second which is good; it will encourage the dance team’s loyal fans to watch both performances. It will be a good way for the cheerleaders to wow fans and good for the dance team to take center-court while the crowd is pumped from the cheer routine."
Interrante said, "None of us really feel any competition with the dance team. We’re different organizations. We’re just really excited."
Adviser Amy Hecht agrees that there is no competition. "The dance team and cheerleading squad are two separate organizations, both trying to accomplish different goals. The Office of Student Activities is proud to be able to offer as many opportunities as possible for students to get involved on campus. I am sure both groups will bring even more school spirit to the campus and excel at what they do best," Hecht said.
In general the dance team is accepting their new half-time counter-part. Neil said, "The dance team and cheerleading squad are in it together to make Midnight Madness and all home-basketball games entertaining and upbeat for the crowd and the players."
During a pre-Midnight Madness practice on Oct. 4, the mutual feeling among all 33 dancers is they do not want to be compared or put against the cheerleading team in a competition. They are two distinct and different athletic clubs. Neil said, "We are not in competition, as we are two different clubs. Cheerleading focuses on gymnastics, strength and stunting while the dance team spotlights advanced dance sequences and their focal point is to entertain the crowd."
Although the dance team welcomes the cheerleading squad with smiles, Cavalier fans cannot help but wonder if having the two teams sharing the same venue will create jealousy and competition. Neil said, "We have a very young team with 15 returning dance team members and 16 new freshmen. The freshmen are very excited to see if they can match last year’s high caliber team and go beyond."
Exhausted from a two-hour long grueling practice, the dance team members simultaneously agree that they are pleased to share court time with the cheerleaders. They also conquer the cheerleaders seem less thrilled about sharing half-time during Cabrini’s most popular fall event, Midnight Madness.
Deborah Alberici, sophomore elementary education major and dancer of 15 years, said, "Of course they are not going to be as upbeat as we are. The dance team is an established and reputable team, while the cheerleaders have to make a name for their squad this year."
Amanda Farrington, junior psychology major, said, "The entire dance team, myself included, is proud of the cheerleaders. They started from nothing and organized a team that will be great. Many of us came from a background in cheerleading so we understand the hard work and dedication. We respect them."
All the excited Cavalier fans who look forward to Midnight Madness and the start of the basketball season are wondering what will set the dance team apart from the cheerleaders. Alicia Del Pizzo, a senior internet computing major and assistant coach of the dance team, said, "Our reputation sets us apart. We have a reputation of awesome performances. The cheerleaders are building their reputation right now. Also our performance is totally different from a cheerleading routine. Dance routines incorporate jazz, hip-hop and many other types."
Regardless of what makes these two teams different, one outstanding similarity is their passion to entertain and promise to put on an unforgettable performance. Dancers and cheerleaders alike would rather put aside the controversy, stop the rumors and simply dance and cheer on Midnight Madness and throughout the basketball season. Both teams will put on must-see performances that will prove they are both equally worthy of court-time.

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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Laura Van De Pette Kellie Be

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