Dance team introduces staff, 10 new members

The Mercer University Dance Team auditions held in September yielded the participation of several young dancers who will perform at games and Mercer events throughout the current academic year.

The new Mercer University Dance Team consists of 10 girls: Madison Beavers, Christy Brown, Kayla Godwin, Porsche Green, Katie Houston, Kendalee Marcus, Elizabeth Peacock, Cassie Speirs, Hannah Troyer and Kaila White.

The team is under the direction of Terri Waits and Kim Hamrick, owners of T & K Studios in Jackson, Ga. Their dance education facility specializes in ballet, tap and jazz.

Both coaches have devoted their lives to the art form, which explains why Waits and Hamrick meet and exceed the standard that Mercer Athletics has always held for a dedicated faculty.

The two have experienced dance from both a competitive as well as a recreational standpoint. They were the directors for DANCEAMERICA and Dance Olympus, a popular dance competition and convention circuit in the southeast, and they are current Georgia representatives for National Dance Week.

“We’re very excited about directing Dance Team this year and we anticipate it being a great program,” said Dance Team Co-Director Terri Waits.

The squad now schedules frequent rehearsals in the University Center aerobics room in preparation for the upcoming Mercer basketball season, which is their biggest audience and primary focus in the coming year.

The members have been working to raise funds for their uniforms, shoes, music and choreography. The dances consist of a mixture somewhere between hip-hop and jazz. They are currently working on a piece to perform at the halftime show at the next big basketball game. While many schools’ dance teams perform solely to ‘canned’ music, Hamrick and Waits are of the opinion that dance team members should actively engage spectators as the cheerleaders do.

“The dancers are energetic, enthusiastic and eager,” said Dance Team Co-Director Kim Hamrick. “It’s our goal to make this a positive experience for everyone involved, including Mercer fans. We want the dance program to grow even more next year,” she added.

The Cluster caught up with the dancers as they broke in new dance shoes at the second team practice.

Dance Team member Cassie Speirs can’t wait for their first performance. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and being involved,” said Speirs. “I’m getting a chance to be a part of something new and exciting,” she added.

The primary focus this year seems to be the establishment of a more engaging atmosphere at Mercer athletic events, and basketball in particular. The dance team will collaborate with Mercer Cheer, Pep Band and of course Toby (Mercer Bear mascot), to create a fun, interactive environment for Mercer students and sports fans alike.

Dance Team member Christy Brown said, “I’m looking forward to bringing back the Mercer Dance Team and working beside the cheerleaders and pep band. It shows that you don’t have to be in cheer or pep band to get the crowd involved in games,” she added.