This month’s Club Sport of the Month is Southern Explosion, the Georgia Southern Dance Team. Club Sports Graduate Assistant Emilie Buzhardt had this to say about the club:
“Southern Explosion is club of the month because they have been extremely organized, cooperative, and successful throughout this entire month. Southern Explosion has been affiliated with GSU Club Sports since 1990; however, after a rough year last year they are having to run their club from the beginning. They attend all meetings, participated in community service opportunities, handed in all appropriate forms and paperwork, and have done an extremely great job promoting and gaining interest for the Dance Team. This past month they held tryouts and participated in a NDA home camp. After completing the camp they won a bid to nationals and received the highest achievement ribbon for a club dance team, the blue ribbon. Out of all the clubs, Southern Explosion has been extremely successful this month! “
I had the chance to sit down with Lauren Holmen, the club’s president, and learned some amazing things about this awesome club.
What is a tradition your team has?
Every year we have team “socials”. The first one usually involves watching old nationals tapes and decorating costumes for Doo-Dah. We also usually have a Christmas party with tons of foods and activities. At the end of the year we have a team banquet, where we go out to a restaurant to make it a little more special than the other events. At the banquet we give out our team awards such as Miss Southern Explosion, Most improved, and Most Valuable dancer (MVD). Last year we started giving out silly superlatives, I hope we continue that! We also give our seniors a special gift as well as to the captains and coach. During these socials we really get close to each other. Not only is it fun but it truly is a bonding experience.
What is your favorite thing about playing Club Sports at Georgia Southern?
Being a part of a club, especially a sports club, really brings together students with common interests that would have never met otherwise. It gives students a break from their busy class and work schedule to do something they love to do. Plus, being able to continue doing something you love in college is always amazing.
How often do you practice? What is your typical practice like?
Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. We usually warm up, work on technique (jumps, turns, and team style), then learn new dances for basketball, Doo-Dah, and/or Nationals. New this year we also started working out on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6am. Gotta stay in shape for uniform season!
How often do you have games?
Well, we are dancing at 15 men and women’s basketball games on the sidelines and at half time this year. This is our second year on the sideline and we’ve added more games than we danced at last year. We’ve added a bunch more women’s games this year as well. We’re hoping to one day have a big enough team to be able to perform at all of the games. We will also be performing at the Homecoming dance/step show Doo-Dah this year, as well as walking in the parade. We will be having lots of fundraisers this year including our annual kids camp, car washes, doughnut sales, and bake sales. We will also be volunteering at different events around town and on campus. Make sure to check out our website, GSU Dance Team, and Facebook page, (Southern Explosion) The Georgia Southern University Dance Team, for all of our upcoming events.
What is it like to travel around and play different schools?
The only time we travel is to go to National Cheer Association (NCA)/National Dance Alliance (NDA) cheer and dance Collegiate Nationals in the spring. NDA is the largest collegiate national’s championship in the world. Every year Southern Explosion, along with GSU Cheer, travels to Daytona, Florida to compete. We compete against other college dance teams from across the country. The teams we will be competing against have not been published yet, but in the past we have competed against teams like Sam Houston, Kennesaw State, and Florida State. It is quite an experience! We learn so much about each and every one of our team members, as well as become extremely close on our journey to nationals.
What is your best memory about Club Sports?
One of the best memories we have of club sports is being able to go to Nationals and seeing that all of your hard work has paid off. It is also a great way to bond with your team and meet people from other schools that are involved with similar teams. Another good memory is how well all the clubs in CRI work together to help each other. We all volunteer at each other’s events and help each other out as much as we can. In addition, the CRI staff members are always helpful, know what each and every team needs to succeed, and will do whatever possible to help us achieve our goals.
When did you start Dancing?
Most of the girls on the team started dancing at a young age, around 2 or 3, at studios all over Georgia and even as far as Ohio and Maryland. Some began with cheerleading, and some started on their high school dance teams. All of our girls go by the philosophy of dancer and choreographer George Balanchine, “I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.” We are all on this team because we could not imagine a life without dance.
What if someone is interested in playing your sport? How can they find out more information? Are there tryouts?
If someone wants to join the team we do require a tryout, which usually take place twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. All of our tryout information can be found on our website, GSU Dance Team, or interested ladies (and gentlemen) can contact one of our two captains: Lori Anne Peyton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lauren Holmen (email@example.com) to set up a private tryout.
When was your club established at Georgia Southern?
Our club was established in 1990, and throughout our 21 year history the team has changed it’s image several times. When the team first began we only danced at basketball games, and didn’t compete in any form of competition. From 2002-2006 the team was completely run by students. During those years we went to Universal Dance Association (UDA) competitions which we started attending in 2001. Starting in 2004 we participated in both jazz & hip hop categories. In 2005 we got 2nd place in our division for hip hop. Throughout this period we danced on the sidelines at all the home basketball games, featuring multiple uniforms. Prior to the time at UDA, we competed at NDA Nationals for several years. In 2007, we returned to NDA Nationals, where we promptly matched our second place finish from 2000. In either 2004 or 2005, we participated in Homecoming heavily, winning the banner contest, 2nd place on our float, the dance division of Doo-Dah, as well as the spirit award.
Does your team have any achievements the team is especially proud of?
This year we participated in our first NDA home camp and received a bronze bid to nationals. This means that we already qualify to attend Nationals this year and don’t have to send in an audition video. We also received a blue superior ribbon, which is the highest achievement ribbon you can receive. In 2007 the team placed 2nd at NDA Nationals. We are extremely hopeful that we will do well this year and appreciate all the support CRI and the community has given us throughout the years.