Lehigh’s dance team co-captain Rebecca Milano, ’16, said she remembers the excitement and nervousness coming from her team as it prepared to perform at the Patriot League Men’s Basketball Championship game at Stabler Arena.
“I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen the stands that packed for a basketball game before,” Milano said. “We perform at the parent’s weekend football game, which is also a huge crowd, but it feels much further away and way less real when you can’t see their faces. Dancing at a basketball game is just so up close and personal. I feel like we can see everyone’s face in the audience.”
The team practices four times a week, with each practice being two hours or more. The Lehigh dance team prepares for events all over campus including a variety of sporting events, DanceFest, Latinopalooza, Fusion, the Spec Spec talent show and Dance Marathon.
Team member Alessandra Kruman, ’18, feels the purpose of the team is a combination of entertaining and pumping up the audience during sporting events, as well as showcasing themselves in events such as Spec Spec and DanceFest.
With 18 women on the team this year, each woman has a different level of a dance background.
“We have tryouts, usually on the first Thursday of classes, at the beginning of every year,” Milano said. “People’s experience prior to joining the team varies. Where some people have been professionally trained since they could walk and some have never taken a dance class in their life. We invite people of all levels to tryout.”
Team member Rena Zhu, ’19, said she was a serious competitive dancer throughout middle and high school. She would practice 20 hours a week and said she could not imagine not continuing to dance throughout college.
After joining the Lehigh dance team, she said she is happy to have made good friends she will be close with for the rest of her life.
Along the same lines, Kruman remembered starting to dance when she was 5 years old. After joining the dance team, she loved it.
“I can easily say those girls are my best friends at Lehigh,” Kruman said. “We do so much stuff outside of practice, we hang out all the time. It’s not unusual for us to get dinner every day together, or just hang out on weekends, or travel, like spring break and stuff like that.”
After the season, the women still choose to spend their time together.
“One thing that we usually do every year is, after our seasons over, we will take a big trip,” Kruman said. “Last year we went to New York City. We went to the Broadway Dance Center, and we took a class there. We hung out in the city and that was really fun for us. We still talk about it today, and we usually do it every year.”
Milano feels the importance of the team is to bring something fun and exciting to the audience to hopefully make them feel upbeat and positive.
“We hope that our performance can put a smile on someone’s face and get them excited about whatever else is going on at the event,” she said.