UWL Dance team talks about their recent success


Pictured: Fall 2021 UWL Dance Team. Photo provided by Annie Thurs.

Jack O'Donnell, Sports Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse competitive dance team is finally competing again, like all sports and clubs here on campus, after a year’s absence due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. This is their first year competing since 2019. The UWL dance team does not just compete in their own events, they also support the other sports here on campus. “We do the sidelines at basketball games and perform during halftime,” said Senior Captain Alyssa Johnson. “It is so nice to be able to perform again, having almost two years off was a long wait for us,” continued Johnson.  

“We do multiple competitions per year, and we just had one this past weekend at Ashwaubenon high school,” said Johnson. They competed in two distinctive styles. The first was Jazz and the placed third and the second was Hip Hop which placed fourth. They dance team competed against some division one schools as well, so overall proud of their performance. “We try to be a competitive team, most of the girls we get on our team come from competitive programs,” said Senior Captain Annie Thurs.  

For the Jazz style it is a lot more technical, while Hip Hop is more modern and uses more upbeat styles of songs. “For our jazz style we (the captains) plus the coach choreograph, and for Hip Hop it mostly dancer led on the choreography,” said Johnson.  

“It has been challenging,” said Thurs, speaking on how their season has been going. “Having to deal with COVID in-person regulations and dealing with it on multiple platforms, different schools and different competitions.” She said overall, she is excited to be back performing.  

This season has been different than in years past for a variety of reasons. Obviously COVID-19, but also the team is bigger, and this is the first year with a new coach. “This is the largest team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Johnson. “Having a coach has been really nice, because without him the captains would be running everything,” said Captain Emily Ausloos. The UWL dance team is a student organization, meaning they are not a part of the Universities Intercollegiate sports teams. So, having a coach is a unique experience. “Having a coach has made our jobs as captains easier, we don’t have to worry about simple things like practice,” said Johnson.  

While the captains have an easier workload with a coach, they still put a lot of effort into the team. They do a lot of administrative stuff, which includes merchandising and fundraising.  

Their next competition will be nationals which are not held until February in Florida. “We are really excited to go because only one person on our team has gone before so it will be a unique experience for us,” said Ausloos.  

“It is nice to be a part of a competitive team, but we still have those elements of friendship and camaraderie,” said Johnson speaking on behalf of the team. “To not have that pressure of you must do great, but the pressure of to do great for your team is awesome.”