DU Diamonds prepare for competition

“Practice makes perfect” is the thought that remains in theminds of the dancers for the DU Diamond dance team. Although therehave been both positive and negative thoughts about theirperformances, the Diamonds are new, improved, and ready toshine.

During the month of September, about 36 students appeared at theauditions held in Dent. Standards to make the team remained high,but veteran teammates made the tryouts comfortable for thenewcomers. “I didn’t know what to expect,” said newcomer AshleyWade, “I was slightly nervous, but everyone was helpful and made mefeel comfortable.”

DU Diamond coach Jana Smith said that the audition was awonderful experience. “Those who tried out made it easier to teachbecause they understood the aesthetics of dance,” Smith said.

Most of the dancers on the squad have a dance background. SeniorLindsay McCormick said that dancing has served as an outlet for herfor 18 years. Four of those years she has been dancing for theDiamonds. “It shows your peers that you’re doing something outsideof class and it’s a way to make life long friends,” Lindsaysaid.

LaKaii Wilson has been dancing for the Diamonds for three years.”Dance is a way for me to express my emotions,” Wilson said, “Ilove to see the reaction of the crowd and showing them that I havea talent.”

While some of the dancers use dance as an outlet, others use itto entertain. “I like the attention and the facial expressions ofthe people after a performance,” newcomer Deanna Brockman said.

“I have been dancing since I was in my mother’s womb. It makesme feel good,” said sophomore Deshawn Hunt.

The Diamonds have competed in three competitions since 2002. Atthe Black Nationals Competition in Atlanta, Ga., they placed firstin 2002. However, they did not make it to the winning row in 2003.The Diamonds made it a priority to redeem themselves at the U.S.Open Competition in 2004 where they regained the first placespot.

Coach Smith, who has been coaching the team since 1998, saidthat this is the first time that there have been 27 people on thesquad. This is also the first year that there have been five guyson the squad. “I am excited and overwhelmed by the leadershipability and dedication on the squad this year,” Smith said.

The team is planning to compete in the Black CollegiateChampionship at the Bayou Classic in November and at the NationalDance Competition held in New Orleans from Feb. 16-18 of 2005.

“My hope for the dance team is to increase their strength andendurance in order for them to project their dancing,” Smithsaid.

When it comes to encouragement from the students, there is bothpositive and negative support. “Every year the support differs. Weusually get good feedback,” McCormick said.

According to McCormick, their style of dance last year wasmostly jazz. This year they plan to be more versatile by dancing tomore Hip-Hop. “This year we have the best of the best and this willbe our best year,” Wilson said.

“We have always put our everything into our performances,”McCormick said. “We support the school and we need their supportalso.”

The DU Diamonds will have their first performance for Dillard atits first basketball game in January