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Chico State’s dance team: Expression stepping up in 2015

Expressions dance team works hard at practice on Wednesday night. The team hope to one day compete at the national level. Photo credit: Kiana Alvarez

The Chico State dance team, Expressions, has plans to compete nationally, but are taking the process to get there step-by-step. It’s not as easy as it sounds— it’s a big deal and a huge commitment for every member on the team.

Team co-captain Carly Thompson, junior journalism major, has been dancing with the team for three years now. During her first year, she was the club’s historian officer and then the apparel chair during her junior year. This year, she received the opportunity to take on a bigger position as one of the captains.

One of her many responsibilities is to choreograph the dances. The idea to someday start competing at a national level has been there since she’s joined the team, she said.

“Now we have dancers that are amazing and really awesome officers that want to help the team grow,” said Thompson. “We all want to leave something amazing behind us.”

The dance team has been a part of Chico State for 22 years. Last year, members showed an interest in wanting the team to grow bigger and better by taking on new recruits for 2015-2016 school year before the end of spring semester. There was a total of five members at the time who turned in applications for chair positions all of whom demonstrated in their application that they wanted a strong dance team to go travel to compete, Thompson said.

The idea to compete nationally stemmed not only from the captains, but also from the members. Going national is something everyone wants to see happen and experience, Thompson said.

“We’ve always had big dreams and ambition for the team,” said Kelsey Veith, junior communication design major.

Veith has been dancing since she was three years old. Along with Thompson and her co-captain, Melissa Morse, she has also been with the team for three years now.

Expressions currently performs at sporting events, such as the men’s and women’s soccer home games, where they perform hip-hop dance routines. At basketball and volleyball games, they dance to jazz songs as well. Although they enjoy performing at events, they are sometimes restricted as to which games they can perform at because sports sponsors want more time for activities during breaks, Thompson said.

The team wants to expand the number of locations they perform at in Chico. Thompson wants the team to perform more often and locally outside of school, she said.

“We want to start performing at new games,” said Thompson. “We also want try and look into performing at the farmer’s market once it comes back.”

In January, Expressions will be attending LA Dance Magic in Santa Clara, California. The event is a two-day dance convention filled with professional choreographers and teachers. Groups have the opportunity to compete and perform. However, Expressions will not be competing this year but are hoping to compete in 2016, Thompson said.

Because Expressions is a club without an appointed coach, everything is organized by the captains and members— it’s a group effort. Members have to pay monthly dues. When it comes to club expenses, members must pay out of pocket first in order to be reimbursed later.

The club’s first performance of the semester will be on Oct. 23 at the men’s and women’s soccer games. With a total of 10 returners and eight new members, Thompson is eager to start, she said.

The team is going national sometime soon, that’s for sure. The new question is will they become university-sanctioned and a regulated club team? There are benefits that come with being recognized by the university, but the perks of being a club are valued by the team as well.

Not being a university club team allows Expressions to have more freedom in deciding what they want for the team. The club is in charge of choreographing their own routines. If the team were to become a club sport, they would lose that privilege and would be required to hire a head coach to teach them and decide the routines for them, Thompson said.

“If we were a team, the school could pay for it. But then we would lose a lot of things,” Thompson said. “We really love the way we are now, but I think one day we’ll end up as an official team.”

Julie Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @julieOrtega_ on Twitter.

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