As volleyball season comes to an end, the Dillard University cheerleaders and dance team gear up to support the basketball team in a new season.
To prepare for the new season, the cheerleaders held tryouts in September in search of individuals with talent and spirit. Eight new members have joined the three returning cheerleaders from last year’s squad to complete the team.
While Jessica Texada heads the 2007-2008 cheerleading team as captain and Chanel Mercadel leads as co-captain, Cheerleading Coach Nicole Coleman said the team is getting ready by practicing a long list of cheers and chants, sideline dances and routines.
“We are looking forward to some really good half time shows and sideline routines,” said Coleman. “We will also be performing stunts and [will] possibly incorporate some tumbling into those stunts and routines.”
KiKi Barnes, the athletic director at Dillard, said she is looking forward to seeing their energy. “Stunting will add to the energy and be powerful to us on the court,” Barnes said.
The team incorporates a workout routine in two of their practice days during the school week to build and improve their core strength.
Students at Dillard anticipate seeing new things from the cheerleaders this year.
“They need to do some stunts, tumble a little bit, or do some flips in the air,” said Brandon Anderson, senior business management major.
Through a series of auditions, the dance team, also known as the DU Diamonds, has also found new talented individuals to join the team. Currently, the Diamonds are still in search of new members to complete the group. They are hosting a third and final tryout Oct. 22 through Oct. 24.
In a search of some male talent, the Diamonds held tryouts earlier this month to form a new all male hip-hop group that will be incorporated into the dance team. The new, not yet officially named group will dance along side the Diamonds as the basketball season begins, and perhaps venture out to perform at other events on its own.
For the past years, the Diamonds have been involved in events on campus as well as those throughout the community. This year the dance team will be featured in campus events such as: the Dance Kaleidoscope in the fall and spring semesters, Coronation, basketball games and their own concert in the spring.
Jana Meyers-Smith, the dance team coordinator, said she has hopes for the team’s aspirations this year in including a male group.
“It’s exciting. It’s a good adventure and a way to introduce guys to dance, ” said Smith. “They dance like men and are secure in dancing and I think the crowd will be really accepting of the group.”
The dance team, unlike the cheerleading team, has no captains. The team believes the unique and individual talents as well as dedication of each person comes together to shape the group and when things need to be done, they will get done. “Leaders will automatically emerge,” said Smith.
In addition to being well trained in their crafts, Barnes said she expects both teams to be academically in sync as well as committed to being excellent ambassadors for Dillard.
“Come support athletics,” Barnes said. “Performance wise, the groups are the spirit of athletics.”
The cheerleaders will showcase their talent at the first women’s basketball game Oct. 29. The dance team’s first performance will be Oct. 30, at the women’s volleyball game.