Making a College Dance Team

Nina Andrianos, Online Reporter

Dance has been a huge part of my life ever since I was little. I’ve been dancing since I was four years old and always pictured myself continuing after high school. I was always asked, “what are your plans when you graduate?” but, I never knew how to answer. I saw myself trying out for a top ranked college dance team, or auditioning for dance schools around the country. I never had the confidence in myself or knew what it took to reach my goal. However, around mid-April of 2019, I received a message that, I didn’t know at the time, would lead me to my dream.

It all started in my U.S. Government class my junior year. I remember sitting in my class and once I finished my work, I went on my phone to see that I received a message on Instagram from The Ohio State University’s dance team. I was immediately so excited and shocked. I knew that their dance team was among the best in the country. The message was from the coach, she explained how she saw me dance with the Utica Varsity Dance Team at our national competition in Orlando that February. Then, she went on to say that she was very interested in getting to know me more and meet the team. I have heard so much about their program and never thought they would consider me. When I went home that day I instantly told my parents, and we started to plan for the summer. I have always watched Ohio States Dance Team, they have a huge name in the dance world and have won numerous national championships. Before receiving the message I already planned at looking at the school and learning more about the dance team. However, now I was even more excited.

To get considered for any college dance team, it is very important to make sure to meet in person. The coach had told me about a overnight summer camp they were holding.  So, I registered and made the trip to Columbus in early July.  This weekend made me love the team and the school even more. I got to learn from the dancers and choreographers, see the campus, and I made so many new friends. It was perfect and I knew that this was the college that was right for me. When I went back home, I told my parents how much I enjoyed it and that I was really considering the team. I spent all summer training and looking for more camps or clinics I could attend in the fall.

Ohio State’s program is much different then others in many ways. One major difference is that there are no tryouts for their team, they only recruit dancers who they are considering. It is way more serious and difficult. Out of the hundreds of dancers that attend their clinics, you have to prove yourself and why they should look at you. In August of that summer, I got a text message from the coach saying she would like to invite me to a recruitment weekend. I would get to meet the few other recruits, go to a football game, and learn more about the team. I did not hesitate on my decision to go, my dad and I went back that fall for the experience. This time was much more serious, I got to see what it was like to be a student-athlete and how much of a commitment it was. It was a more in-depth weekend to see exactly what it took to be a member of the team.

After the recruitment weekend, I went back home to start my senior year of high school and seriously think of what my future would look like. I continued to make sure I went to any clinic I could, and stay in contact with the coach. I knew she would be at our national competition in Florida to watch and make her finally decisions on the team. So, I spent the next five months focusing only on school and dance. I wanted to be well prepared for nationals so I could make one last good impression before she made her pick.

After a couple months of training, it was time for nationals. I was so excited and also more nervous than I have ever been. Especially when I’m dancing in front of college coaches. Overall, nationals went great. As soon as I landed back in Michigan I received another text from the coach saying she would like to set up one final meeting with me. This made me feel good and hopeful that I had a chance to make it.

About a week after our competition, the coach had called me. We talked for a long time about where I stood on my decisions for college. She asked me if I was fully on board with going to Ohio State and explained to me how much of a commitment it is. I knew being a student-athlete at a big name school would be tough but, I was up for the challenge. I told her that I thought hard about my decision and knew Ohio State was the school for me. She then continued to tell me she’d love to have me on the team and at that moment I knew that all my hard work had paid off.