Monthly Archives: March 2008

The Exhibition

This is a chance for our friends, family, and supporters to see our Nationals routine before we head off to compete in Daytona, Florida.  We call this event “The Exhibition.”  This is an event for The UMass Dance Team, The UMass Cheerleaders, and Sam the Minuteman. 

First, every member of our team will introduce themselves and show a dance skill.  Then the cheerleaders will do the same.  Each team will perform their Nationals routine (twice each).      

♦ There will be a DJ, concessions, and dance team merchandise available!

WHEN: Sunday, April 6, 2008, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
WHERE: Curry Hicks Cage
at UMass Amherst (Campus Map)

And here is a list of all of the college teams going to Nationals! (The cheerleading teams are listed first, then the dance teams). 

bandshell backview
Photo: The Bandshell (also known as the Finals Stage)

20 Questions: With Caitlyn Melia


She is our Co-Captain.  She has been training under our Captain, Whitney Holovach, for almost 2 years now and she will be the new Captain once this season is over.  On the team, she is known for being a great turner and always giggling! She is a Junior and this is her second year on the team.

Meet Caitlyn:

1. What is your nickname?
Don’t really have any

2. Where is your hometown?
Tewksbury, MA

3. What was the name of your old dance studio?
Broadway Dance Academy

4. What is your favorite style of dance?

5.  What was your most memorable UMass Dance Team moment?
It was probably when I fell during one of the sideline dances at a basketball game.

6.  What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I secretly like to play basketball

7.  How would your friends describe you?
Silly and laid back

8.  What is your favorite television show?
I can’t pick just one…but some of my favs are One Tree Hill and obviously Grey’s Anatomy.

9. Who is your celebrity crush?
James Lafferty

10.  Where is your favorite place on campus?
Berkshire (dining hall) because that is where I get to catch up with my best friend Kerri!

11.  What is your favorite sports team?
I’d rather play than watch

12.  What is your favorite pastime?

13.  What are you known for?
Always talking on the phone

14.  What is your favorite event that our team does and why (after Nationals if Nationals is your first)?
The Exhibition before Nationals because that’s when my family comes to watch me dance.

15.  What are you looking forward to doing when you are captain?
I just want to do my best. Whitney has held the team together for the past 3 years and I can only hope to be as good a leader as she. ♥ We are sure you’ll do a great job, Caitlyn!

16.  Do you have any pets?
I have a little dog named Emerald.

17.  What is your favorite movie?
My Best Friend’s Wedding

18.  What is your favorite color?
Anyone who knows me knows my love for the color pink.

19.  What’s your Major/Minor?

20.  What is your favorite season and why?
Fall, because I love the smell of burning leaves.

20 Questions: With Ashley Johnson

What makes this member of the team unique is that she is the only dance major on the team! (And there is no dance minor at UMass by the way) We give her a lot of credit for being able to dance as much as she does every day. She is a double major in Spanish, too. She is a Sophomore, and this is her second year on the team.

Meet Ashley:

1. What is your nickname?
Ash, Johnson, or JJ

2. Where is your hometown?
Charlton, MA

3. What was your old dance studio?
Mass Motion Dance Academy

4. What is your favorite style of dance?

5. What was your most memorable UMass Dance Team moment?
Besides the feeling that I felt when we all took our place on the finals stage last year at my first Nationals, my most memorable moment would have to be right after (auditions), finding out that I had made the team, and meeting everyone for the first time!

6. What would people be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I am determined to become fluent in all of the romance languages.

7. How would your friends describe you?
They would say that I’m always smiling, laughing way too much at every little thing and that I’m extremely outgoing.

8. What is your favorite television show?
What I Like About You, America’s Best Dance Crew, Saved By The Bell, Boy Meets World, and Full House

9. Who is your celebrity crush?
Channing Tatum

10. Where is your favorite place on campus?
Totman 13 & 204 (the dance studios)

11. What is your favorite sports team?
Boston Red Sox baby!

12. What is your favorite pastime?
Reading and figuring out novels written in Spanish

13. What are you known for?
My friends say that I’m like their mother when their own aren’t around.

14. What is your favorite event that our team does and why (after Nationals if Nationals is your first)?
I really support that our team participates in UDance. It’s great because its a marathon geared toward dance- our talent, and at the same time we’re raising money to help sick children. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all of us in saying that doing what we love and helping people at the same time is a really rewarding feeling and experience for all of us.

15. Do have any heroes?
My parents truly are my heroes. I have learned more from them than I ever could from anyone else.

16. Do you have any pets?
Yes! Two cats, Brownie and Tink 🙂

17. What is your favorite movie?
Superbad, Mystic River, Shawshank Redemption, and old dance recital videos.

18. Favorite color?
Cerulean blue

19. Who is your favorite dancer or choreographer?
My favorite choreographer is Eddie Taketa. He has his own company, and I have taken master classes from Eddie himself, and seen his company perform his work. His choreography is innovative and athletic. I always have so much fun taking his classes.

20. Saving the best question for last…
How do you juggle being a dance major and being on the dance team?
And d
o you have any advice for people who would be in the same position?

Being a dance major and also on the dance team is a lot of work. The most vital thing and key to doing both successfully is time management, that’s really all that it is. Some months are easier than others like when there is down time in the dance department after a show ends, or before we start to learn our nationals routine for dance team. It’s a lot of give and take. The dance team has always been very understanding and considerate of my rehearsal times for dance department shows, and vice versa, the dance faculty and student choreographers (my peers) know that I’m only one juggling both the major and the team and realize that I’m out straight most days a week and that I’m always trying to find time to fit everything in. My advice to anyone that wants to do both is that it IS possible. I came into school as a major and I have been on the dance team for the two years that I have been at UMASS, and I have rarely ever felt that it was impossible to make time for everything, including school which is most important.

My advice to anyone in the same position is to make sure that you get lots of rest because as you know, being a dancer is really taxing on the body. Drink lots of fluids and remember to stretch really well after dancing for hours a day to prevent injuries. If you ever feel stressed, it really helps to talk to the captains, or your professors about what to do, that in itself will make you feel better and there are always ways to accomodate so that everything will work out in the way that it should. ♥ Thanks Ash!

ash leap

Dance Team Alum on Bravo!

There seems to be a big dance craze on television right now.  Besides the dance shows that have been on for a couple of seasons like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars,” MTV recently came out with a new show called “Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew,” Lifetime made “You’re Mama Don’t Dance” and now Bravo is adding to the ranks.  Their new dance show is called “Step It Up and Dance.” 

What’s exciting about this new show is that one of our dance team alum is one of the twelve contestants! 

♦ View the commercial for “Step It Up and Dance”

Meet Adriana and the other dancers

Adriana (known on the team as “Adri”) transferred from Endicott College to UMass.  She was on the UMass Dance Team for three years and was captain for one year. 

“Step It Up and Dance,” hosted by Elizabeth Berkley, premiers on Thursday April 3rd at 11/10 PM central on Bravo. 

Elizabeth Berkley

Competition Time

turn it up logo

On Sunday March 9th, the team went to Farmington, Connecticut to compete in the “Turn It Up” Regional Dance Competition.  The team participated in this competition last year as well, earning the top high score for that competition.  

turn it up 2007
This is a picture of the 2007 Team with their Top High Score Trophy.

This year we decided to do it again because we found it was good practice to show our Nationals routine to an audience.  It was also beneficial to get feedback from dance professionals, the three judges, and then use their comments/critiques to modify our dance and make it better. 

There were three other collegiate teams at the competition this year: SUNY Brockport and two teams from Adelphi University.  Most of us really liked Brockport’s presentation.  They had heavy, black and navy eye make-up that went up to their eyebrows, with messy hair, and they wore black and blue costumes.  Their theme was called “Distortion.”   

We did well at the competition.  We earned 295 points out of a possible 300 from the judges.  We were awarded the highest award called “Platnim.”  In order to get “Platnim,” you had to earn 275 points or more (the order goes from best to worst: Platnim, High Gold, Gold, High Silver, Silver, High Bronze, Bronze).  There were just a couple of Bronzes handed out. 

20 Questions: With Katie Judge

She is our Practice Captain.  Since we do not have a coach, she is responsible for running all of our practices.  She does everything from leading warm-ups and across-the-floor, choreographing dances, and cleaning (perfecting our dances), etc. 

 Meet Katie Judge:

katie pic

1.  What is your nickname?

2.  Where is your hometown?

3.  When is your birthday?
September 18, 1987 

4.  How old were you when you started dancing?
3 years old

5.  What is your favorite style of dance?
Jazz and Modern

6.  What do you like most about being on the UMass Dance Team?
The team is like a second family because we’ve been through so much together.  Thanks girls!

7.  What awards have you won in dance?
2003 United States Dance Team, Various “Dance Masters of America” and “American Dance Awards” High Scores, and Burncoat High School Dance Team Captain

8.  What is your Major?

9.  Where is your favorite place on campus?
The Library

10.  What was the name of your old dance studio?
Diane Kelley Dance Studios

11.  What’s your favorite food? 
Spinach and artichoke dip

12.  What is your favorite television show?

13.  What is your favorite movie?
Mean Girls

14.  Who is your celebrity crush?
Justin Timberlake

15.  What are some things you cannot live without?
My family, friends, dance, and my shoes.

16.  What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is Christmas because my entire family gets together to celebrate. Plus my mom makes the best cookies only during this time of the year.

17.  What are your other hobbies?
Hanging out with my friends, shopping, going to the gym, and reading.

18.  How would your friends describe you?
Outgoing, loud, and fun.

19.  What is your guilty pleasure?
Text Messaging

20.  What was your favorite dance team moment?
We have quite some memorable moments, but my favorite is performing on the nationals stage. It’s where all of our hard work pays off.