Securing a spot on the Hoosierettes dance team felt like fate to freshman Izzy Ruiz. During this time of transition, her passion for dance was not something she wanted to just let go of after being involved with it for most of her life. This was her “last chance to dance,” she said, and she believed if she didn’t make the team, it just wasn’t meant to be.
But she did. She said it was refreshing to know she would be continuing to pursue dance in college. And now, she has been given a community where she feels she belongs after only a week of being on the team.
Even if it just means getting a ride to the off-campus practice from an upperclassman, Ruiz said it is reassuring to have people supporting her who have already experienced the normal freshman troubles she is facing at the moment, such as homesickness and difficulty in classes.
“I feel like I belong,” Ruiz said. “There are upperclassmen I can lean on, and I enjoy being around like-minded individuals.”
Compared to other dance groups on campus, the Hoosierettes are a student-led group. Taking the place of a coach, the three co-captains are responsible for choreographing the dances, managing finances, scheduling performances and running practices. One of the captains, Maddie Tayler, said the work is hard, but is worth it.
“Every time I go to practice, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to continue dancing in college,” Tayler said. “Dancing with 25 of your friends is such a great stress reliever from school work and other responsibilities.”
The dancers practice twice a week, where they rehearse choreography and perfect their routines for their next performance. They also focus on technique to make sure all dancers are maintaining their skill set and improving as a group and individually each week.
The group specializes in jazz, pom and hip-hop routines. Since most of the dancers took part in the activity in high school, they continue this trend by producing fast-paced and fun performances, Tayler said.
Since their beginnings in 2010, the group has performed at a multitude of events around Bloomington, including men’s soccer and women’s basketball games, the Jill Behrman Color the Campus 5k, the Homecoming Parade and the Miss IU pageant. The company’s first performance this school year will take place Oct. 9 at the men's soccer game.
“I can be my crazy, silly self, but at the end of the day we are all there to do what we love, and that is dance,” Ruiz said. “We can bring our different personalities to the floor, and then they all combine to be one great performance.”
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