Every football and basketball half-time, Mercyhurst students get to witness the energetic and precise movements of members of the Mercyhurst Dance Team.
The MU Dance Team is comprised of 17 individuals who learn fast-paced choreography to perform in perfect unison.
Normally showcasing hip-hop dance styles, the team has always been full of pep and spirit, entertaining the crowds in the stands and cheering for the players on the field.
The team mostly performs at home games, but occasionally performs at Gannon games.
The team has been around for several decades, once a part of a “pep” team.
Now, the pep team is split into both cheer and dance teams.
During the first week of school, auditions — where students learned and performed combinations of movement to be considered for the team — were held.
The audition typically teaches a 35-second routine in under 15 minutes and then the dancers are asked to perform in small groups.
“In choreography, a choreographer or coach would typically like to have 1 hour of rehearsal time for each minute of choreography. Dance team is required to learn choreography twice that speed,” Dance Team Coach Danielle Kaiser said.
“During most two hour rehearsals, the team will learn one or two two-minute routines during football season,” she said.
“During basketball season, guest choreographers are brought in to teach two and a half minute routines in two hours,” Kaiser said.
Sophomore Davia Ford, a Dance major and a new member of the team, said, “The most rewarding part about dance team is that I get to be a part of a team and be involved with the university’s sports events.”
“I really enjoy myself and love that I get to do it with all of my friends,” Ford said.
Dancers are tasked with picking up fast-paced choreography in a limited amount of time, which they then practice at least twice a week for two hours at a time.
Sophomore Rebecca Dunphy, a Dance and Criminal Justice major, said the most rewarding part of Dance Team, for her, is “being a member of a team that’s so diverse, yet so focused on one goal: giving our best performance.”
“When you see Dance Team out on the field or court, you’re not just seeing dance majors, you’re seeing a collection of majors from Fashion to Intel, who are all equally passionate,” said Dunphy.
Masterclasses hosted by the Dance Team are open to the Mercyhurst student community several times a year.
Keep an eye out for the Dance Team on the next game day, Hurst Day, Erie BayHawks games, and even at events later in the year like the Laker Showdown.