The Utica College Dance Team was formed last year by junior Emily Surace, a psych-child life major. She coaches the team and is helped by Meghan Mariotti, the team’s choreographer, who graduated from SUNY Brockport with a dance degree.
Nicole Wollin, a junior, joined the dance team last year during the spring semester. She was part of an 11-person team last year. Luckily, they gained some teammates for a roster size of 20.
They performed last year at the UC men’s basketball games and plan to continue performing at their games. This season, the team was approached by men’s hockey coach Gary Heenan to perform at the men’s hockey games because they get “quite the crowd,” he said.
During the games, the team has 30-second choreographed dances. Each team member is placed within the aisles of the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Every time the whistle blows the team goes out, dances and then returns to the aisles.
“I had so much fun during the first game,” Wollin said. “At first, I could tell we were all a little nervous and didn’t know what to expect. But by the end, everyone was smiling and letting loose and just dancing.”
Olivia Hirschy, a member of the women’s hockey team said she was surprised to see the dance team performing at the game.
“While there were mixed emotions about the dancers at the men’s hockey game, I believed it gave the men’s game a feel of a professional hockey game,” she said.
Hirschy stated that it takes a lot of courage to perform in front of any crowd. According to her, the dancers are putting themselves out there and gave it their best performance.
“We are learning and experiencing it all together,” Wollin said. “I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season takes us.”