The dance team in their fresh, new uniforms.
Beloit College is home to over 100 different clubs and student organizations, from spiritual wellness to LARPing, but it has lacked, for years, a solid dancing team. Jen Widmer’19, current captain of the Beloit College Performance Dance Team, has invested immense amounts of time and effort to remedy that. The team has finally coalesced the fall semester of 2016, but it was a year in the making. Through a struggle to find consistent members, a turbulent wade through complicated club-starting ordinances, and a need for self-supported funding, Widmer has remained unyielding.
After arriving at Beloit, Widmer was disappointed with the lack of a dance team, and with further investigation, found that the college hadn’t had a dance team in decades; the cheer team 15 years ago is the only thing that comes close. And, as much of the team has stressed, the Beloit College Performance Dance Team is not a group of cheerleaders. In her journey to build the team, Widmer found support not only from the Athletics department but also from other student organizations like Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi as well as a great deal of enthusiasm from alumni. Contributions from these entities allowed the team to finance uniforms and become established.
Widmer and the rest of the team hope to become a strong presence on campus. They’ve already begun community connecting projects, planning a future collaboration with BSU. The Athletics department was incredibly enthusiastic about the inception of the group. Widmer has worked partnerships for the dancers to perform and cheer-on football, basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse. After their performance at the Healthy Happy Hour & 5K Run/WalK, the cross country team is even interested in their presence at some meets, holding up the finish line.
The dance team during a grueling rehearsal.
The girls truly see the group as a family.“I love my team. Right now my teammate bond is one of my strongest bonds that I have on campus. And in my life. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world” says Abigail Flemming’18. With practices and performances, they definitely spend a great deal of time together, united by common loves of dance and a desire to spread Beloit school spirit.
“I’d rate [the quality of the team] an 11 or a 10,” proclaims Widner, “Because it’s just us. We don’t have an advisor. It’s just us in the basement of Eaton Chapel doing our thing. It’s incredible.”
And they have accomplished a great deal in just 14 weeks of rehearsal, from performances at a pep rally to Homecoming. Sabrina Tumicelli’19, secretary of the group, recalls “The crowds [at football games] love us. They really get into it, especially the kids.” Parents from opposing teams have even expressed how impressed they are with the team’s spirit.
The dance team cheering on the Buccaneers football team.
In the future, Widmer hopes the group can attain Varsity level status. A prerequisite, of would bethree years of operation to earn that distinction. By then, the only current member of the team would be Carter Skolnode’20. Yet, the group holds out hope to carry the tradition onwards to next generations of Beloit College students.
Widmer would love to increase the ranks of the team. Be on the lookout for flyers for next semester’s try-outs.
The dance team on their way to dinner after practice on a crisp fall day.
Until then, students, faculty, and family can look forward to seeing the cheery group dancing all through the fall semester from the side-lines to half-time shows.
2016-2017 Dance Team
Jen Widmer'19, captain
Sophia Rogers-Davidson'19, vice president
Haylee Irwin'19, manager/photographer