Monday, May 1, 2006
Images finished seventh at national championship
|OU's dance team, Images, took seventh place in this year's national competition.|
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Images, Oakland University’s dance team, had a very busy year. Between performing at men’s and women’s basketball games, participating in campus pep rallies and traveling with the women’s team to the NCAA tournament, Images also competed in the Universal Dance Association’s National College Championship in Orlando, Fla. in January, taking seventh place in the competition.
Last year, the dancers finished fifth in the competition and 10th in 2004. Unlike previous years, this was the first time the team competed in two categories. Previously they would compete in just jazz or hip-hop. Head Coach Teri Cherian said her goal was just to make the top ten in both categories so she is happy with the team’s seventh place finish.
“I give all of the credit to the team. They stay physically in shape, they keep up with busy schedules and they are fantastic dancers,” said Cherian. “We demand a lot out of the girls with drilling and perfecting the dances and it is a tough job, but it is more difficult for the girls to keep up with our expectations.”
The 14 girls on the 2005-2006 dance team practiced two days a week but stepped up their rehearsals during the competition season to four days a week, four hours a day.
Cherian and Assistant Coach Erin Shea stay up-to-date on choreography and skills in order to help keep the team competitive.
“We have always been lucky with having extremely talented dancers on our team from all different backgrounds,” said Cherian.
While most of the dancers have had studio dance or high school dance team experience, few are pursuing dance degrees and are doing this simply for the love of dance.
Images shouldn’t be confused with the cheer team. They don’t tumble, do mounts at half time or side line cheers, but Cherian said they are passionate about supporting OU’s sports teams.
“The two groups go hand-in-hand and they work well together,” said Cherian. “All three groups — the dance team, the band and the cheer squad make up an awesome spirit squad for OU Athletics.”
Images performs at basketball games and select baseball, soccer, volleyball and hockey games. Outside of sports, Images also has mande appearance at local events like the Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Dancing in the Street, Arts and Apples Festival, the Downtown Rochester Christmas Parade, a Red Cross golf event, American Cancer Society Heart Walk and pep rallies, and they visit local elementary schools.
Images also participates in area fund-raisers. This year the team raised $3,000 for Relay for Life.
Cherian hopes the experiences the team has will help them grow outside the classroom. By teaching them about team work, goal setting, winning and losing, and having a positive attitude, they will be successful on the team and in life.
“We have goals to reach for and every year we get better. And it is key to know sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Erin and I always say to the girls ‘as long as you do your best, we don’t care how you place,’” said Cherian.
Images recently held try-outs for next year’s team and selected 25 girls to represent OU on the dance team. Through three days of try-outs including a jazz, hip-hop and pom routine, the dancers’ techniques were evaluated. The new dancers join more than 20 years of Image history including a successful competition history. Besides the seventh place national finish, Images placed first in last year’s summer camp competition and has finished first in five of the last six years at the regional competition.
For more information on Images, visit the OU Athletics Web site.